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The Technical Services 




Chester Wardlow 


Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 55-60003 

First Printed 1956 -CMH Pub 10-20 

Kent Roberts Greenfield, General Editor* 

James P. Baxter 
President, Williams Colleg 

Gordon A. Craig 
Princeton University 

Elmer Ellis 
University of Missouri 

William T. Hutchinson 
University of Chicago 

Charles H. Taylor 
Harvard University 


Maj. Gen. Elwyn D. Post 

Brig. Gen. Verdi B. Barnes 
Army War College 

Brig, Gen, C. E. Beauchamp 

Brig. Gen. LeonardJ. Greeley 
Industrial College oft he Armed Forces 

Col. Thomas D. Stamps 
United States Military Academy 

Office of the Chief of Military History 
Maj. Gen. Albert C. Smith, Chief 

Chief Historian Kent Roberts Greenfield 

Chief, War Histories Division Col. G. G. O'Connor 

Chief, Editorial and Publication Division Lt, Col, T. E. Bennett 

Chief, Editorial Branch Joseph R. Friedman 

Chief, Cartographic Branch Wsevolod Aglaimoff 

Chief, Photographic Branch Maj. Arthur T. La wry 

♦General Editor for Technical Service volumes, Li. Col, Leo J, Meyer, Deputy Chirr 

. . to Those Who Served 


The history of World War II is making increasingly clear the central fact 
that the tightest rein on the military effort of the United States in that war was 
imposed by transportation. As long as this nation rights overseas the same 
situation is likely to reoccur — a prospect that gives a special importance to the 
exposition of the subject in this series. The Army promptly recognized the im- 
portance of transportation when, as in World War I, it centralized its supervi- 
sion of this branch of its vast logistical effort in a Chief of Transportation and 
created (in July 1942) a Transportation Corps. 

The Army did not, and could not, control all the factors that entered into 
the movement of its men, munitions, and supplies. The larger story the reader 
must seek elsewhere — in the two volumes on Global Logistics and Strategy and in 
the theater volumes of the U.S. ARMY IN WORLD WAR II. Here the story 
is told from the records and point of view of the Army's Chief of Transporta- 
tion, Maj. Gen. Charles P. Gross. In this volume, the second in the group of 
three Transportation Corps volumes, Mr. Wardlow passes to the policies and 
methods adopted to move men and materiel within the continental United 
States and out to theaters of operations — the core of General Gross's mission — 
and to provide the Transportation Corps' quota of equipment and trained 
soldiers necessary to accomplish its oversea mission. 

Washington, D. C. 
7 June 1954 

Maj. Gen., U. S. A. 
Chief of Military History 


The Author 

Mr. Chester Wardlow was pursuing graduate studies in Political Science at 
the University of Chicago when the United States entered World War I. In 
1918, employed by the Shipping Board, he went overseas with the mission that 
became the American Section of the Allied Maritime Transport Council. From 
1921 until 1935 he was connected with private shipping organizations. During 
the period 1935-41 he held the office of Sole Arbiter of the Trans- Atlantic Pas- 
senger Conference. In 1941 Mr. Wardlow was employed as Coordinator of 
Transportation for the Army and remained in that position until 1946. From 
1946 until his retirement in 1954 he was the Chief Historian of the Transporta- 
tion Corps. He is the author of the first volume of the Transportation Corps 
subseries in the U.S. ARMY IN WORLD WAR II, published in 1951. 



The purpose of this volume is twofold: to present and evaluate the 
machinery and the procedures employed by the Army Chief of Transportation 
in moving troops and military materiel within the United States and from the 
United States to the oversea theaters of operations, and to outline the methods 
used and the problems encountered by the Chief of Transportation in training 
the troops and providing the equipment and supplies needed to Maintain 
effective transportation services in the oversea commands. 

The movement of troops and materiel was the basic and distinctive function 
of the Chief of Transportation, and for that reason the greater part of the book 
has been devoted to that aspect of his work. Training and supply functions 
were performed by other technical services as well as by the Transportation 
Corps, and since all technical services worked under the general direction of 
Army Services Forces headquarters, there was considerable similarity in the 
methods employed and the standards enforced. The discussion of training and 
supply is therefore confined to those aspects in which the Chief of Transporta- 
tion had unique responsibilities or encountered exceptional problems. 

Much of this account is presented by simply stating what the functions of the 
Chief of Transportation were and how he performed them, although his oper- 
ating difficulties and his disagreements with other agencies are treated as fully 
as seems warranted. During the prewar emergency period, as the United States 
steadily drifted toward open belligerency, one of the handicaps suffered by 
those concerned with military transportation was the lack of an adequate 
record of how the Transportation Service had functioned in World War I. The 
documented account given here should in large measure obviate a similar lack 
if the nation should again become involved in a major conflict. 

In the interest of completeness some matters that were discussed in The 
Transportation Corps: Responsibilities, Organization, and Operations are dealt with 
again, but the second treatment has been kept as brief as practicable and cross 
referenced to that volume. Since the discussion of movements, training, and 
supply activities can be better understood if the reader has some knowledge of 
the background of the Transportation Corps, its relations with other agencies, 
and the broad policies of the Chief of Transportation, these aspects of the 
Transportation Corps story are reviewed briefly in the introduction. 

Valuable information and opinions have been obtained from officers and 
civilian experts who were on the staff of the Chief of Transportation during the 


war and were still accessible for interviews while this volume was in prepara- 
tion. The assistance of those who have contributed personally or through their 
writings, and whose names therefore appear in the footnotes, is gratefully 
acknowledged. It must be emphasized, however, that the author bears 
responsibility for interpretations of fact and any inadvertent errors or omissions. 

The statistics used in this book have been drawn so far as possible from 
compilations prepared in the Office of the Comptroller of the Army for the 
statistical volume to be published in this series. Special credit is due Mr. George 
M. Adams of that office, who by recourse to the original sources has done a 
thorough job of verifying, correcting, and amplifying the statistics compiled in 
the Office of the Chief of Transportation during the war. Mr. George R. Powell 
of the same office has given valuable assistance in the presentation of statistical 
data and the preparation of graphic charts. 

Special thanks are also due Leo J. Meyer, Colonel, Transportation Corps 
Reserve, Deputy Chief Historian, who read the manuscript and offered helpful 
suggestions in the light of his wartime experience with Army transportation, 
and to Marie Premauer, who aided substantially in locating source material 
and verifying citations in addition to typing the manuscript. Helen McShane 
Bailey carried out the final editing, Allen R. Clark copy edited the manuscript, 
and Margaret E. Tackley selected and prepared the photographs. 

Washington, D. C. 
7 June 1954 



Chapter Page 



Nature and Volume of the Traffic 11 

Working Arrangements With the Carriers 15 

Army Policies and Procedures 25 

Mobilization and Conservation of Railroad Equipment 35 

Special Troop Trains 46 

Official and Furlough Travel on Regular Trains 58 

Movement of Patients 70 

Prisoners of War and Enemy Aliens 77 

A Job Well Bone 81 


Categories of Troops Moved 86 

Troopships and Sailing Schedules 89 

The Ports of Embarkation 99 

Movement to the Ports 105 

Troop Staging at the Ports 1 09 

Embarkation Procedures 125 

Troopship Administration 136 

The Liberty Ship as a Troop Carrier 145 

Movement of Organizational Equipment 1 48 

Joint Use of Troopships by the Armed Services 161 

A Test of Method and Efficiency 1 64 


Return Traffic Before V-E Day 167 

Preparations for Redeployment 173 

Redeployment Between V-E Day and V-J Day 182 

Repatriation After the Surrender oj Japan 197 

Evacuation of Patients From Oversea Theaters 212 

Transportation of Soldiers' 1 Dependents 231 

Repatriation of the War Dead 237 

Results Under Pressure 239 


Chapter P a ge 


Characteristics of Army Freight Traffic 243 

Distribution of Freight Among the Carriers 248 

Routing and Related Practices 255 

Control of Traffic Flow 264 

Transit Storage Operations 281 

Mobilization and Conservation of Freight Cars 295 

Consolidated Car Service 305 

Freight Rates and Classifications 316 

The Measure of Accomplishment 326 


Analysis of Outbound Freight Traffic 330 

Regulation of Oversea Supply Movements 335 

Transshipment of Cargo at the Ports 357 

Shipment of Ammunition and Explosives 376 

Packing, Marking, Documentation, and Security 391 

Adjustments at the End of Hostilities 405 

The Return Cargo Movement 408 

International Aid Shipments 410 

Theater Requirements Met 417 


Distribution of Training Responsibilities 420 

Schooling for Officers and Officer Candidates 425 

Troop Units for the Operation of Oversea Ports 431 

Troop Units for Military Railways 438 

Crews for Small Boats and Amphibious Trucks 442 

Other Types of Units 449 

Cadres, Fillers, and Replacements 451 

Civilian Schooling for Specialists 455 

Final Inspection of Units 457 

Review of Training Problems 460 


Scope of the Responsibility 462 

The Headquarters and Field Organizations 465 

Setting Up the Supply Program 472 

Contracting Procedures and Aid to Contractors 481 

Production Schedules and Controls 490 

Maintenance and Spare Parts 499 

Progress in Technical Matters 507 

Summary of Successes and Failures 513 


ChapUr Page 






INDEX 543 



1. Army Passengers Moved by Commercial Rail and Bus in Organized 

Groups on Routings Provided by the Central Routing Authority in 
Washington: December 1941 -December 1945 30 

2. Analysis of Army Passenger Traffic Moved by Rail in Organized Groups 

on Routings Provided by Central Routing Authority in Washington: 
December 1941-December 1945 30 

3. Railroad Cars Used by the Army in Moving Organized Groups and 

Their Impedimenta Routed by the Central Routing Authority in 
Washington: December 1941-December 1945 37 

4. Passenger Train Cars Owned or Leased by the Carriers at the End of Each 

Year: 1940-1945 38 

5. Army Reservation Bureau Activity: April 1943-December 1945 .... 65 

6. Operations of Army Hospital Cars and Medical Kitchen Cars: 1944-1946. 71 

7. Classification of Troops Embarked at U.S. Ports of Embarkation for 

Oversea Commands: May 1 944-December 1945 88 

8. Percentage of Troops Embarked From U.S. Ports in Vessels Under British 

and U.S. Control: May 1944-December 1945 89 

9. Passengers Embarked by the Principal Army Ports: December 1941- 

December 1945 100 

10. Passengers Embarked by the Army for the Several Oversea Areas: Decem- 

ber 1941-December 1945 101 

11. Time Spent at the Staging Areas by Troops Embarked at New York 

During 1944 112 

12. Capacities of Troop Staging Areas and Intransit Troops Staged: 1-28 

January 1945 113 

13. Army Hospital Ships Entering Service During World War II 219 

14. Patients Evacuated From Overseas by Water and Debarked at Army Ports 

in the United States: 1943-1945 224 

15. Percentage of Patients Debarked by the Army From Troopships, Hospital 

Ships, and Aircraft: 1943-1945 225 


No. Page 

1 6. Freight Shipped on War Department Bills of Lading by Army Procuring 

Services and Commanders of Troop Organizations: December 1941- 
December 1945 242 

17. Means of Transport Used for Freight Moved on War Department Bills of 

Lading in the Zone of Interior: December 1941-December 1945 . . . 249 

18. Carloads of Freight Released by Traffic Control Division for Shipment to 

Ports: July 1943-June 1945 275 

19. Carloads of Export Freight Unloaded by the Railroads at U.S. Ports: 

1939-1945 281 

20. Warehouse, Shed, and Open Storage Space at Holding and Reconsignment 

Points: 31 May 1945 288 

21 . Percentage of Filled, Booked, and Free Space at Holding and Reconsign- 

ment Points on Designated Dates 290 

22. Short Tons of Freight Handled In and Out of the Holding and Recon- 

signment Points: 1942-1945 291 

23. Average Tons Per Car Shipped on War Department Bills of Lading by the 

Several Shipping Agencies: December 1941-December 1945 305 

24. Tons of Less-Than-Carload Freight Consolidated by the Army-Navy 

Consolidating Stations: July 1 942-December 1945 310 

25. Annual Savings Through Rate Adjustment and Classification Activities 

of the Traffic Control Division 325 

26. Tons of Cargo Shipped by the Army by Water From the Zone of Interior 

to the Several Oversea Areas: December 1941-December 1945 . . . 328 

27. Tons of Cargo Shipped to Oversea Destinations by the Principal Army 

Ports: December 1941-December 1945 332 

28. Tons of Cargo Shipped by Water to Oversea Destinations by the Respec- 

tive Procuring Services: December 1941-December 1945 333 

29. Aircraft Dispatched to the Army Air Forces Overseas, by Sea and by Air, 

Crated and Uncrated: January 1942-July 1945 365 

30. Army Aircraft Transported Overseas Under the Cognizance of the Com- 

mittee on Aircraft Transportation : March 1943-April 1945 366 

31. Motor Vehicles Transported to the Oversea Commands: January 1943- 

June 1945 370 

32. Special Army Piers and Backup Storage Facilities for Export Ammunition 

and Explosives 381 

33. Army-Procured Ammunition and High Explosives Shipped Overseas From 

Army-Controlled Piers at U.S. Ports: December 1941-August 1945 . . 390 

34. Cargo Returned From Overseas and Discharged at Army Ports in the 

United States: 1942-1946 410 

35. Port Units in Oversea Areas: 31 March 1945 436 

36. Transportation Corps Troop Units Activated During World War II . . . 437 

37. Troops of Other Services Trained at Transportation Corps Installations: 

1 August 1942-1 September 1945 452 

38. Estimated Value of Transportation Corps Equipment and Supplies 

Accepted: Calendar Years 1942-1945 466 


No. Page 

39. Budget Estimates for Transportation Corps Equipment and Supplies: Fiscal 

Years 1942-1946 467 

40. Quantities of Major Items of Transportation Equipment Constructed and 

Accepted in the Zone of Interior 502 


1. Army Passengers Moved Monthly by Rail and Bus in Organized Groups 

on Routings Provided by the Central Routing Authority in Washington: 
December 1941-December 1945 31 

2. Revenue Passenger-Miles Accomplished in Pullman-Operated Sleeping 

Cars and Parlor Cars: 1939-1945 41 

3. Passengers Embarked Monthly by the Army at U.S. Ports for Oversea 

Destinations: December 1941-December 1945 98 

4. Passengers Embarked by the Army at U.S. Ports for the Several Oversea 

Areas: December 1941-December 1945 102 

5 . Forecast of Troop Redeployment, Prepared by the Chief of Transporta- 

tion, as of 11 July 1945 198 

6. Passengers Debarked Monthly by the Army at U.S. Ports From Oversea 

Commands: 1943-1946 206 

7. Passengers Debarked by the Army at the Respective U.S. Ports: 1945- 

1946 207 

8. Freight Moved Monthly by Rail and Other Domestic Carriers on War 

Department Bills of Lading: December 1941— December 1945 .... 254 

9. Monthly Tonnage of Less-Than-Carload Freight Consolidated by the 

Army-Navy Consolidating Stations: July 1942-December 1945 . ... 311 

10. Army Cargo Shipped Monthly From the Zone of Interior to Oversea 

Destination: December 1941-December 1945 329 

11. Basic Plan for Filling Requisitions From Oversea Commands for Army 

Service Forces Supplies 344 

12. Army- Procured Ammunition and High Explosives Loaded at Army- 

Controlled Piers for Delivery Overseas: December 1941 -August 1945 . 391 


Specially Designed Government-Owned Troop Sleepers 23 

80th Division Troops Arriving at Camp Forrest 36 

Planning Routings and Assignments of Rail Equipment 45 

Preparing Food in a Converted Baggage-Kitchen Car 52 

New Troop Kitchen Car Equipped With Modern Facilities 53 

Special Reservation Bureau for Military Personnel 66 

New Self-Contained Army Hospital Car 72 



Three Types of Troop Transports 92 

Training Facilities at Camp Stoneman 118 

Staging Area Recreational Facilities 122 

Individual Equipment Ready To Be Carried 126 

Army Nurses Entraining at Camp Kilmer 128 

Troops Leaving Camp Myles Standish 129 

Night Embarkation 133 

Red Cross Workers Waving to Troops 134 

Crowded Accommodations Aboard a Troop Transport 140 

Impromptu Entertainment Aboard Ship 142 

Processing Troop Equipment 153 

German Prisoners of War Debarking at a U.S. Port 168 

USS Wakefield Landing Troops 172 

USS West Point Embarking Troops at Naples 184 

86th Division Troops Arriving at New York 185 

The Queen Mary Arriving at New York 186 

U.S. Army Hospital Ship St. Mihiel 214 

USS Comfort Off Los Angeles Harbor 223 

Ward Room on the Army Troopship Monterey 228 

Dispensary on the Monterey 229 

Litters Ready To Receive Patients 230 

Engineer Pontons Loaded on Flatcars 246 

76-mm. Gun Motor Carriages 247 

Locomotives Shipped as Railway Freight 270 

Holding and Reconsignment Point 284 

Outdoor Storage Space 293 

Two 2^-Ton Trucks Loaded on Each Flatcar 300 

Sixteen %-Ton Trucks Loaded on a Flatcar 301 

The Consolidated Car Service 308 

Maj. Gen. Homer M. Groninger and Maj. Gen. William M. Goodman . . . 341 

Crated Freight Loaded on the SS William S. Clark 360 

Ten Railroad Tank Cars on the Forward Deck 361 

Transporting Aircraft on Deck 367 

Mail on Trucks at the San Francisco Port of Embarkation 376 

Sorting Mail at the New York Port of Embarkation 377 

Special Explosives Loading Pier 385 

Barricaded Storage Track 386 

U.S.-Built Broad-Gauge Locomotives for the USSR 413 

Maj. Gen. Frederick Gilbreath 427 

Training Transportation Officers 429 

Port Companies in Training . 434 

Training Troops for the Military Railway Service 443 

Amphibian Truck Company Troops in Training 447 

Port Company Troops 458 

Troops Practice Going Over the Side 459 


U.S. -Built Locomotives for Service Overseas 
Vessels Procured by the Transportation Corps 
Boats for Harbor and Inshore Work .... 
Seagoing Steel Barge Under Construction . 

Revolving Floating Crane 

Processing and Crating Shop 

Marine Rope in Storage 


Illustrations are from the files of the Department of Defense except for the 

Southern Pacific Railroad: page 23. 

Santa Fe Railroad: pages 52, 53. 

U.S. Maritime Commission: page 92 (middle). 

Association of American Railroads: page 270. 

Life Photo, Peter Stackpole: page 300. 

American Locomotive Company: page 464. 

xv ll 


Introduction 1 

One of the facts stamped indelibly on 
the minds of military men by World War 
II is that transportation plays a key role 
in global warfare. In a conflict fought on 
foreign soil, success is absolutely dependent 
on the number of soldiers and the quan- 
tity of materiel that can be moved to the 
oversea commands and the timeliness 
with which they are delivered. 

The primary consideration is trans- 
oceanic transportation, for in wartime the 
capacity needed to move troops and cargo 
far exceeds the capacity required for 
peacetime traffic. But traffic within the 
zone of interior also expands rapidly 
under a war economy, and means must 
be found for handling military move- 
ments promptly while at the same time 
accommodating essential civilian traffic. 
In the oversea areas where the forces come 
to grips with the enemy, the ports of entry 
and the inland lines of communication 
must be kept operative, notwithstanding 
the efforts of the enemy to destroy the fa- 
cilities and the uncertain value of local 
civilian labor. 

The shipping problem was an especially 
vital one in World War II, as in the pre- 
vious great conflict, because while the 
Allies were heavily dependent upon ocean 
transport, Germany was not. The Ger- 
mans, who under the Allied plan of strat- 
egy were to be defeated before the war 
effort was turned fully against Japan, 
struck heavy blows at Allied shipping in 
the Atlantic, the Caribbean, and the 
Mediterranean. Their submarines were 
so effective for a time that serious doubts 

arose in the minds of Allied leaders 
whether a sufficiently large fleet of troop 
and cargo vessels could be built up to 
meet the requirements of victory in a 
multifront war. Such a fleet was achieved 
nevertheless through the unprecedented 
performance of the United States in con- 
structing new vessels, the increasingly 
effective Allied campaign waged against 
the U-boat, and the economies effected by 
bringing virtually all shipping available 
to the Western Allies under the control of 
the British and U.S. Governments and 
closely co-ordinating the operations of the 
two pools. The shipping situation began 
to improve perceptibly in the spring of 
1943; yet up to the time of Germany's sur- 
render there never was a surplus of ves- 
sels. In fact, there never was enough 
shipping to satisfy those who were direct- 
ing the expanding Allied war effort. 

Although excellent results in the effec- 
tive employment of the Allied cargo fleets 
were accomplished through the co-ordi- 
nating work of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 
the Combined Chiefs of Staff, and the 
Combined Shipping Adjustment Board, 

1 This brief explanation of the background of the 
Transportation Corps, the fundamental problems that 
confronted the Chief of Transportation, and the 
establishment that functioned under his command is 
essentially a recapit ulation of information pr esented 
in Chester Wardlow jTfa Transportation Corps\ Respon- 
sibilities, Organization, and Operations, UNITED 
ton, 1951). Many of the problems and relationships 
will be referred to again in the last chapter of this 
volume, where some observations and conclusions re- 
garding the activities and accomplishments of the 
Transportation Corps in connection with movements, 
training, and supply will be presented. 



individual vessels were not always used to 
capacity. During the early years of the 
war when the production of military sup- 
plies in the United States was lagging, 
sufficient cargo was not always delivered 
to the ports to fill the ships that were 
destined for low-priority theaters. Even 
when materiel was available at depots, 
camps, and manufacturing plants, the 
process of assembling at the ports highly 
diversified cargoes from many sources in 
such a manner as to avoid port congestion 
and yet have the cargoes ready for load- 
ing in accordance with theater priorities 
and convoy schedules was a complicated 
one, and some supplies did not arrive as 
planned either because of late shipment 
or because of unexpectedly long time in 
transit. The preponderance of bulky and 
light items over compact and heavy items 
in Army cargoes frequently made it im- 
possible for the ports of embarkation to 
load vessels to their dead-weight capac- 
ities, even though their cargo spaces were 

The most serious waste of shipping 
came about through holding cargo vessels 
idle in the theaters. While such detentions 
sometimes were caused by unforeseen 
military developments, too often they 
were attributable to the failure of theater 
commanders to keep the tonnages that 
they sought to have delivered at particu- 
lar ports within the capacities of the ports 
to receive, or to the deliberate use of vessels 
as floating warehouses. This problem be- 
came especially acute in the fall of 1944, 
and it was not cleared up until the Presi- 
dent peremptorily directed the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff to bring the situation under 

According to prewar plans the Navy 
was to operate all ocean-going vessels 
needed by the armed forces if the United 

States should become a belligerent. The 
Army actually began turning over its 
transports to the Navy in the spring of 
1941, but it soon became apparent that 
the Navy was not in a position to provide 
enlisted crews for a large number of mer- 
chant vessels because of the heavy de- 
mand for combatant crews. Soon after 
Pearl Harbor, therefore, the two services 
agreed that the Army should man and 
operate the vessels that it owned or con- 
trolled under bareboat charter and call 
directly on the U.S. Maritime Commis- 
sion for the allocation of such additional 
vessels as it might require. During the en- 
suing year efforts were made to achieve 
an arrangement under which either the 
Navy or the Army would control all mili- 
tary shipping, since that was recognized 
as more economical than the operation of 
separate fleets, but the two departments 
could not agree on a plan. The bulk of the 
shipping was therefore operated by agents 
of the War Shipping Administration, 
which took over the operating responsibil- 
ities of the Maritime Commission in 
February 1942, and the vessels were allo- 
cated to the Army and the Navy in ac- 
cordance with their requirements. Under 
subsequent agreements the Navy manned 
a considerable number of vessels that 
were to be employed by the Army in the 
forward areas, and the two services freely 
interchanged ship space for both troops 
and cargo moving between the zone of in- 
terior and the theaters. 

The Maritime Commission was the 
agency designated by the President to 
procure the additional shipping required 
for the war effort. Its achievement in de- 
veloping new shipyards and expanding 
old ones to produce a total of 55,000,000 
dead-weight tons of new vessels was out- 
standing. Since most of these vessels were 



intended for military use, close collabora- 
tion was necessary between the military 
authorities and the Maritime Commission 
to insure that the right balance was main- 
tained between troop capacity, dry cargo 
capacity, and bulk oil capacity. During 
the latter part of the war, with extensive 
amphibious operations against the Jap- 
anese in prospect, many specialized vessels 
were built to transport troops and cargoes 
in assault actions. The Joint Chiefs of Staff 
represented the armed forces in determin- 
ing military shipping requirements. In 
order to facilitate collaboration a repre- 
sentative of the Maritime Commission 
was designated an associate member of 
the Joint Military Transportation Com- 
mittee, which worked out programs to 
provide the numbers and types of vessels 
required to support future military under- 
takings. Because adequate shipping was a 
prerequisite to victory, the shipbuilding 
program was given a high priority in the 
allocation of steel and other scarce ma- 
terials and components. 

Since the Army depended heavily on 
the War Shipping Administration (WSA) 
for the allocation of ships to carry its 
troops and cargoes overseas and to move 
them between bases within the theaters, 
the working arrangements between the 
Army Chief of Transportation and the 
War Shipping Administration were of 
high importance. After an unsatisfactory 
start, during a period when procedures 
were being worked out and the supply of 
vessels was critically short, this relation- 
ship developed into a very successful col- 
laboration. On the operating level, where 
ships and cargoes were matched, an effi- 
cient working arrangement was achieved. 
The Army frequently did not get the 
number of vessels it asked for, and it some- 
times complained vigorously regarding 

the number of ships the WSA allocated to 
transport lend-lease cargoes and to sup- 
port the British import program, but the 
policies governing these allocations were 
set by the President and the WSA had 
little latitude in carrying them out. 

The most acute disagreement between 
the WSA and the Army came to a head 
in December 1942, when the civilian 
shipping agency obtained an order from 
the President directing it to assume con- 
trol of the loading of military cargoes at 
U.S. ports. The purpose of the order was 
to utilize ship capacities more fully by 
loading a mixture of military and lend- 
lease cargoes, thus obtaining a better bal- 
ance of light and heavy items. The Army 
and the Navy saw serious objections to 
placing the loading of military freight in 
the hands of a large number of civilian 
agents of the WSA and were successful in 
having the order shelved. The Army 
recognized the merit of the War Shipping 
Administration's objective, however, and 
arranged to co-operate with that agency 
more fully in mixing military and lend- 
lease shipments. 

The domestic carriers were required 
under the Interstate Commerce Act to 
give military traffic precedence over all 
other types of traffic upon demand of the 
President. No such formal demand was 
made, but there was general recognition 
of the fact that military traffic should not 
be delayed. The railroads, which carried 
the bulk of the Army's personnel and 
freight, worked in very close co-operation 
with the Chief of Transportation and took 
extraordinary measures to move Army 
shipments promptly and to expedite them 
when necessary. Transportation Corps 
officers concerned with troop and freight 
movements frequently complained of de- 
layed deliveries and unsuitable equip- 



ment, but they recognized that the rail- 
roads were confronted with severe wartime 
operating problems and with an un- 
precedented volume of civilian and mili- 
tary traffic. 

There was a less sympathetic attitude 
toward the Office of Defense Transporta- 
tion (ODT), which the President estab- 
lished soon after Pearl Harbor to exercise 
a broad control over all domestic trans- 
portation. The Chief of Transportation 
felt that the ODT was not sufficiently 
aggressive in arranging for the construction 
of additional rail and motor equipment to 
meet the wartime need, and that it was 
too slow in curtailing regular railway 
passenger services in order to make avail- 
able more adequate transportation facili- 
ties for troops. The Director of Defense 
Transportation, on the other hand, cen- 
sured the armed forces for their unwilling- 
ness to allow a larger amount of scarce 
materials to be diverted from the military 
programs to the construction of transpor- 
tation equipment for domestic services. 

When the war began there was a nota- 
ble absence of established methods of co- 
operation between the Army and the 
Navy. Aside from the plan to place all 
military shipping under naval operation 
in the event of war — a plan that was not 
carried out — virtually nothing had been 
done to co-ordinate the transportation ac- 
tivities of the two services. Agreement was 
even lacking as to the assignment and 
equipment of vessels for joint amphibious 
operations. The Naval Transportation 
Service and the Army Transport Service 
were being operated entirely independ- 
ently i nd were competing with each other 
for additional ships. Separate port estab- 
lishments were being maintained. There 
was no co-ordination of domestic move- 
ments of personnel and supplies beyond 

that which was provided by the railroads 
in their own interest. Floating equipment 
and marine supplies were procured sepa- 
rately and little information was ex- 
changed. During the war considerable 
progress was made in the orderly alloca- 
tion of vessels to meet strategic needs, the 
joint use of ships and ship repair facilities, 
the harmonization of marine procurement 
programs, and the reduction of duplicate 
supply shipments to the theaters, but at 
the end of hostilities separate steamship 
services were still being maintained and 
virtually nothing had been accomplished 
to synchronize domestic troop and supply 
movements or to eliminate duplicate port 
operations. The traditional independence 
of the Army and the Navy, the fact that 
the control of Army shipping operations 
and inland traffic movements was more 
centralized than was the case with the 
Navy, and the difficulty of adopting new 
procedures while working under wartime 
pressures limited the co-operation that 
the two services could develop after the 
war had started. 

The fact that the Army transportation 
service, established in March 1942 and 
converted into the Transportation Corps 
in the following July, was a wartime crea- 
tion had a definite influence on its rela- 
tions with other elements of the War 
Department. Aside from the necessity of 
developing an adequate organization in 
the face of wartime manpower shortages 
and establishing procedures to govern all 
phases of the wartime transportation ac- 
tivity, the Chief of Transportation had to 
define and defend his position as the chief 
transportation officer of the new Services 
of Supply (later renamed Army Service 

World War I had demonstrated the 
need for a unified Army transportation 



service, and strong recommendations were 
made for the continuance of such a service 
after the war was over. But the hope that 
there would be no more great wars and 
the desire to cut government spending led 
Congress to disregard this recommenda- 
tion when enacting the National Defense 
Act of 1920. As a result, World War II 
found transportation responsibilities scat- 
tered among several Army agencies — the 
Supply Division (G-4) of the General 
Staff, The Quartermaster General, the 
Chief of Engineers, the Chief of Ord- 
nance, and the ports of embarkation. The 
creation of a Chief of Transportation in the 
War Department reorganization of 9 
March 1942 did not mean that all trans- 
portation functions were placed under his 
control, but it did provide greater concen- 
tration of responsibility than had existed 
previously, and the scope of his authority 
was extended as the war progressed. 2 

In assuming the office of Chief of Trans- 
portation, Brig. Gen. (later Maj. Gen.) 
Charles P. Gross had two broad objec- 
tives — to establish a service that would 
embrace as many of the transportation 
functions of the War Department as cir- 
cumstances would permit, and to main- 
tain unbroken control of troop and supply 
movements from their points of origin at 
camps, depots, and factories in the zone of 
interior until their arrival at the oversea 
ports of debarkation. There obviously was 
a close interrelationship between these 
two purposes. 

The first objective was largely but not 
completely accomplished. After the first 
year of the war the Chief of Transporta- 
tion was responsible for all arrangements 
with the commercial rail, highway, and 
water carriers in the zone of interior, and 
for the provision of shipping and the oper- 
ation of ports of embarkation adequate for 

the Army's oversea traffic. He was re- 
sponsible also for the training of troops 
and the procurement of equipment &nd 
supplies required for marine and rail 
operations in the oversea commands. The x 
Chief of Transportation did not have con- 
trol of traffic by air, which was regulated 
by the Army Air Forces (AAF); he found 
it necessary to accord to the AAF a large 
degree of independence in controlling its 
domestic freight traffic by surface car- 
riers. The design and procurement of 
motor vehicles for oversea highway serv- 
ices remained with the Chief of Ordnance, 
and the organization of troop units for the 
operation of motor vehicles as well as the 
establishment of training programs and 
doctrine for such troops remained with 
The Quartermaster General. 

The second objective — unbroken con- 
trol of troop and supply movements from 
domestic origins to the oversea ports of 
discharge — was attained with but one ex- 
ception, that is, movements by air, which 
were regulated by the Army Air Forces. 
Troop and freight movements by rail, 
motor, or water to the ports of embarka- 
tion and thence overseas by water were 
under the control of the Chief of Trans- 
portation at all points. Several proposals 
were made that would have disrupted this 
control, but the Chief of Transportation 
was able to block them. He held con- 
sistently to the position that continuity of 
control was necessary to enable his or- 
ganization to co-ordinate movements to 
the ports of embarkation with ship sched- 
ules, and thus assure the effective loading 
and prompt dispatch of the vessels as well 
as the observance of theater priorities. 

2 Although from April to July 1942 this official 
was known as the Chief of Transportation Service, 
the title Chief of Transportation is used uniformly in 
this history. 



The Chief of Transportation held a 
unique position in the Army Service Forces 
(ASF) organization because of the breadth 
of the staff responsibilities that he had in 
addition to technical and operating re- 
sponsibilities. The extent of his staff func- 
tions was the natural result of the position 
that the Transportation Corps had in the 
military structure — all other arms and 
services depended on it for mass move- 
ments of men and materiel within the 
zone of interior and to the oversea com- 
mands, and to a considerable extent for 
movements within the oversea areas. This 
meant that from the beginning of strategic 
planning the Chief of Transportation, hav- 
ing knowledge of the means of transporta- 
tion likely to be available and their capa- 
bilities under various circumstances, held 
the key to many important military deci- 
sions. It meant also that his concurrence 
was a prerequisite to any adjustments that 
might have to be made in strategic plans 
because of unforeseen developments. The 
Chief of Transportation built up a strong 
Planning Division to aid him in perform- 
ing his staff functions, and he firmly and 
successfully opposed a proposal put for- 
ward in the fall of 1943 to transfer that 
division to ASF headquarters. 

The staff functions that the Chief of 
Transportation performed and his insist- 
ence on maintaining direct contact with 
the Operations Division (OPD) of the 
General Staff in regard to the oversea 
troop movements that OPD had ordered 
or was planning to order brought him into 
conflict with the ASF Director of Opera- 
tions, Maj. Gen. LeRoy Lutes, on numer- 
ous occasions. This is understandable since 
the latter was charged with co-ordinating 
all ASF activities pertaining to troop and 
supply movements. But the Chief of Trans- 
portation was unwilling to be confined to 

the technical and operating aspects of 
transportation; or rather, he believed that 
his organization would not be fully and 
properly performing its mission if it did 
not bring its practical knowledge of trans- 
portation to bear on the staff work pertain- 
ing to movements. Lt. Gen. Brehon B. 
Somervell, commanding the Army Service 
Forces, recognized the merits of the posi- 
tions taken by both parties to the argu- 
ment, and he sought to strike a practical 
balance between the two rather than to 
rule arbitrarily against one or the other. 
This was fairly well accomplished, both 
sides yielding on some points. 

The fact that the office of the Chief of 
Transportation was not established until 
March 1942 affected not only the Chief of 
Transportation's relations with other ele- 
ments of the War Department but also his 
relations with the theater commanders. 
He had no direct responsibility for trans- 
portation operations within the theaters, 
but he was responsible for furnishing the 
oversea commanders with capable trans- 
portation officers, troop units adequately 
trained for transportation tasks, and ma- 
rine, port, and rail equipment correctly 
designed for theater needs. Starting out 
with small resources and very limited ad- 
vance planning, the Chief of Transporta- 
tion found the early problems in fulfilling 
these responsibilities formidable. Beyond 
the difficulties encountered in supplying 
personnel and materiel, the new Chief of 
Transportation was handicapped by an 
early lack of standing with the theater 
commanders. It took time to acquaint 
them with his place in the scheme of 
things, the ways in which he could be of 
help to them, and the ways in which they 
could co-operate with him. General Gross 
devoted much time and energy to building 
up a satisfactory entente with the com- 



manders of the forces overseas, and in the 
end he felt that his efforts had paid good 
dividends. A more difficult problem was 
that of persuading some theater com- 
manders to accord their chief transporta- 
tion officers sufficient authority to enable 
them to function effectively. On this point 
there was still room for improvement in 
the European theater in late 1944, and a 
satisfactory situation was not obtained in 
the Southwest Pacific until the summer of 

For the fulfillment of his responsibilities 
in the zone of interior the Chief of Trans- 
portation built up, in addition to a head- 
quarters organization of about 3,100 
military and civilian personnel, an exten- 
sive field establishment, which in the 
winter of 1945 embraced personnel (not 
counting personnel assigned by service 
commands and attached troop units) total- 
ing over 180,000. The headquarters staff 
dealt chiefly with the establishment of 
policies and procedures and the supervi- 
sion of activities in the field. The field 
installations were the agencies through 
which policies and procedures approved 
in Washington were carried into effect 
either through direct operations, as at the 
ports of embarkation and the holding and 
reconsignment points, or through close 
relationships with the common carriers 
and industry, as in the case of the zone 
transportation offices. The procedures ap- 
proved at headquarters were in large meas- 
ure based on the operating experiences of 
the field agencies. 

The port installations constituted by far 
the largest segment of this field establish- 
ment. The eight ports of embarkation 
(Boston, New York, Hampton Roads, 
Charleston, New Orleans, Los Angeles, 
San Francisco, and Seattle), the three 
cargo ports (Philadelphia, Baltimore, and 

Searsport, Maine), and the three subports 
(Portland, Oregon; Prince Rupert, British 
Columbia; and Juneau, Alaska), which 
were active at the end of 1944, employed 
more than 171,000 military and civilian 
personnel. The New York installation 
alone employed more than 55,000. The 
activities of the ports of embarkation were 
multifarious; they included the operation 
of shipping terminals, the operation and 
maintenance of Army-owned and char- 
tered transports and harbor boats, the 
repair and conversion of vessels, the oper- 
ation of staging areas for the housing and 
processing of intransit troops, the operation 
of storage and processing facilities for 
equipment and supplies, the regulation of 
the flow of troops and supplies to the ports 
in accordance with the ports' ability to 
transship them and with due regard to 
movement orders and theaters requisi- 
tions, and certain training activities. The 
cargo ports and subports had more limited 
functions. 3 

Nine zone transportation officers, as 
representatives of the Chief of Transporta- 
tion, supervised a variety of field activities. 
These included holding and reconsign- 
ment points to provide intransit storage 
for equipment and supplies destined for 
oversea areas, freight consolidating stations 
and distributing agencies to handle less- 
than-carload shipments, reservation bu- 
reaus to obtain accommodations on 
regular trains for military personnel, rail- 
road repair shops for the repair of Army- 
owned locomotives and rolling stock, and, 
until 1945, such procurement and depot 
activities as were not carried on directly 
by the Office of the Chief of Transporta- 
tion. The zone transportation offices, the 

3 See Wardlow, op. cit., pp. |95-lTo] for an ex- 
planation of the different types oi port installation!: 
and more detailed personnel data. 



district transportation offices, which were 
subordinate to the zones, and the port 
agencies (which toward the end of the war 
became district transportation offices) also 
represented the Chief of Transportation in 
keeping movements of troops and supplies 
under observation and in expediting the 
flow of traffic when circumstances re- 
quired it. 4 

The training of officers and enlisted 
men constituted a third group of field 
activities. In the early months of the war 
all such training was given at the ports of 
embarkation, but the greatly increased 
requirements soon necessitated the estab- 
lishment of special schools and training 
centers. Although the Chief of Transporta- 
tion believed that he should command all 
such training installations, under a policy 

adopted by ASF headquarters in 1943 
some of the centers where Transportation 
Corps troops were trained were operated 
by the service commands. 

A number of field procurement offices 
were set up in the fall of 1942 with direct 
responsibility to the Chief of Transporta- 
tion. Before the end of the year, however, 
field procurement activities, as well as 
depot activities, were placed under the 
supervision of the zone transportation offi- 
cers. This arrangement continued until 
near the end of the war; then, with the 
procurement program largely accom- 
plished, these activities were detached from 
the zones and were placed under the direct 
supervision of the Chief of Transportation. 

4 For a fuller disc ussion of tra nsportation zones, 
see Wardlow, op. ci<., |pp. 1 1 1-23.| 


Army Passenger Traffic 
in the United States 

The tremendous upsurge in military 
passenger traffic that took place during 
the war was apparent to everyone who 
traveled. The difficulty of obtaining seats 
in railway coaches and buses, the scarcity 
of sleeping car accommodations, and the 
throngs of uniformed men and women en- 
countered in transportation terminals 
were unmistakable evidences. Yet the 
ordinary traveler had no contact with the 
most significant part of the military traf- 
fic — that which moved directly from 
installation to installation in special trains. 
Nor could he have any conception of the 
extent and complexity of the problems 
involved in moving large numbers of mili- 
tary personnel in a prompt, orderly, and 
economical manner by common carriers 
and in making the available railway and 
motor equipment perform maximum 

In approaching the discussion of the 
Army's passenger traffic, two facts must 
be borne in mind. The first is that civilian 
as well as military travel increased as a 
result of the war. The booming industries 
called for increased business travel, and 
the greater income of wage earners gave 
rise to more travel for personal reasons. 
The rationing of gasoline and tires caused 
many owners to lay up their automobiles 
and use public transportation instead. Al- 
though some of the less essential passenger 

services were eliminated or curtailed and 
efforts were made to obtain a voluntary 
abstinence from pleasure travel, no posi- 
tive restriction was placed on the citizen's 
right to use the services that were offered. 
As a result, the 1944 railway passenger 
traffic, measured in passenger-miles, was 
334 percent greater than the annual aver- 
age for the years 1935-39, and intercity 
motorbus traffic was 192 percent greater. 

The second basic fact is that the carriers 
were able to make only a limited increase 
in services after the war began. The build- 
ing of new equipment and structures was 
severely limited by the scarcity of mate- 
rials and the higher priority given to mili- 
tary items. Maintaining adequate trans- 
portation operating personnel was made 
difficult by the manpower requirements of 
the armed forces and the inducements 
offered by other industries. Because of 
these limitations on the ability of the car- 
riers to increase their services, the in- 
creased demand for passenger accommo- 
dations had to be met chiefly by a more 
intensive use of existing facilities. 1 

Nature and Volume of the Traffic 

Army passenger traffic fell into several 
categories, each involving special prob- 

1 Wardlow, The Transporta tion Corps: Res ponsibilities, 
Organisation, and Operations ,\pp. 309—4-9. | 



lems and requiring special procedures. 
There were the larger organized troop 
movements, usually involving units and 
their organic equipment, which for the 
most part moved in special trains. There 
were the smaller organized groups that 
traveled chiefly on the regular rail and 
bus services. Military patients being trans- 
ferred between hospitals or from ports of 
embarkation to hospitals were moved on 
both regular and special trains. Prisoner- 
of-war groups for obvious reasons were 
transported chiefly in special trains or spe- 
cial cars. The military and civilian per- 
sonnel of the Army traveling as individuals 
on War Department transportation 
requests naturally used the regular serv- 
ices of the common carriers. 2 The same 
was true of most military personnel travel- 
ing while on leave or furlough, although 
some of this traffic was handled by special 
trains. The Army also arranged for the 
travel of military personnel of Allied 
nations passing through the United States 
and for the initial movements of persons 
of Japanese descent from the Pacific coast 
for relocation. 

The number of military passengers 
moved by the carriers in World War II far 
exceeded the number moved during any 
earlier period. This was necessarily true 
because the number of men in uniform 
was far greater and the plan of training 
required more travel. 3 Specific data are 
available for only certain categories of 
passengers. During the first eighteen 
months of World War II — that is, through 
May 1943 — statistics were prepared on all 
passengers moved by rail, motor, air, and 
water on War Department requests. The 
total for that period was 24,490,707, and 
the peak month was October 1942 with 
2,068,533 passengers. 4 Thereafter, as an 

economy measure, transportation officers 
in the field were no longer required to 
report the number of passengers moved on 
requests that they had issued; hence the 
only data covering the entire war period 
pertain to passengers moved in the organ- 
ized groups routed by the central routing 
authority in Washington. During the 
forty-nine-month period from December 
1941 through December 1945, such traffic 
totaled 35,848,700 passengers; the peak 
month was August 1945, when 1,207,100 
passengers were moved. 5 Neither set of 
figures includes the travel of Army per- 
sonnel while on furlough or leave, which 
was at the individual's own expense and 
by his own arrangement. 

Since complete data for troop travel 
were not compiled, the exact percentage 
of the whole that military traffic consti- 
tuted is not known, but some indicative 
estimates are available. For the year 1943, 
the Office of Price Administration esti- 
mated that the uniformed personnel of the 
armed services — Army, Navy, Marine 
Corps, and Coast Guard — constituted 25.3 
percent of the total number of passengers 
moved (excluding commuter travel) and 

2 The transportation request is an order on a carrier 
to furnish transportation to persons for official travel 
at government expense. 

'During the nineteen-month period May 1917- 
November 1918, the railroads moved 8,875,000 pas- 
sengers on WD requests on special and regular trains; 
during a corresponding period, December 1941-June 
19+3, such passengers numbered 21,754,000. See Rpt, 
Transportation, Comparative Data, World War I- 
World War II, p. 24, prepared by Contl Div OCT, 
Jul 43, OCT HB MPR. 

4 OCT HB Monograph 20, p. 2 and App. I. 
Roughly 83.8 percent of this traffic moved by rail, 16 
percent by highway, and 0.2 percent by air and water. 

5 See |Table l^ nd l Chart fl pp. 30, 31, below. Rout- 
ing procedures are explained below, |pp. 26—30 .| 
Groups routed by the central routing authority in 
Washington were estimated to constitute between 50 
and 60 percent of the total traffic moved on WD 
transportation requests. 



that this military traffic accounted for 39.5 
percent of the total passenger-miles accom- 
plished. 6 In September 1943 the Office of 
Defense Transportation and the Office of 
War Information jointly released data in- 
dicating that, of the total number of pas- 
sengers traveling on regularly scheduled 
trains and buses (that is, excluding special 
troop trains and buses), 20 percent con- 
sisted of servicemen and servicewomen in 
uniform traveling under orders or on 
leave. Of the remaining 80 percent, it 
was estimated that 55 percent represented 
essential civilian travel and 25 percent 
nonessential travel. 7 

Carefully worked out techniques and 
procedures were required to get the great- 
est possible use out of the rail and motor 
equipment available to the Army. Al- 
though considerable progress had been 
made with such techniques and proce- 
dures before the United States entered the 
war, much remained to be done to adapt 
them to the large and closely timed move- 
ments that then became frequent. The 
field maneuvers held in 1940 and 1941 
gave the Army an opportunity to try out 
its own procedures and its working ar- 
rangements with the railroads, and also to 
determine how far commercial motor 
vehicles could be used for this purpose. 
The precipitate entry of the United States 
into a war involving action in both Atlan- 
tic and Pacific areas put these arrange- 
ments and procedures to the acid test. The 
results were gratifying, as General George 
C. Marshall, the Army Chief of Staff, later 
testified. 8 There remained, nevertheless, 
many features to be developed and refined 
in order for the Army to execute the heavy 
troop movements of 1943 and 1944 with 
smoothness and efficiency. As an indica- 
tion of the size of this undertaking, the 

Chief of Transportation stated that during 
the period of heavy traffic in the spring of 
1943 a special troop train was started for 
every six minutes in the twenty-four-hour 
day. 9 

The system under which troops were 
inducted and trained was expensive in 
terms of transportation. In World War I 
the typical draftee made three basic 
moves — from home to cantonment, from 
cantonment to specialized training camp, 
and thence to port of embarkation. In 
World War II he made at least five 
moves — from home to induction station, 
and thence to reception center, replace- 
ment training center, unit training center, 
and port of embarkation — and, in addi- 
tion, most soldiers were moved to special- 
ized training centers and to training 
maneuver areas. Induction stations, recep- 
tion centers, and replacement training 
centers were numerous and scattered. Spe- 
cialized training centers were widely dis- 
persed, and some training was phased, 
with each phase taking place at a different 
station. Troops and their equipment fre- 
quently were transported all the way 
across the continent in order to meet the- 

6 Exhibit A-68, before ICC, Ex parte 148, October 
23, 1944, reproduced as App. II in OCT HB Mono- 
graph 20. As the percentages indicate, the average 
haul for military passengers was longer than that for 
the traffic as a whole. 

T ODT Press Release 349, 3 Sep 43, OCT HB Topic 
ODT. These figures were released in connection with 
the campaign for a voluntary reduction of nonessential 

8 In the Biennial Report of the Chief of Staff of the 
United States Army, July 1, 1941 to June 30, 1943 . . . , 
the Chief of Staff stated that the movement of almost 
600,000 troops and their impedimenta by rail during 
the first five weeks of the war had been accomplished 
"in an extremely efficient manner." See also, Memo, 
Marshall for the President, 3 Mar 42, sub: Troop and 
Cargo Mvmts, WDCSA 370.5. 

9 Statement in NBC radio broadcast, based on data 
from Military Transportation Section AAR, reported 
in Railway Age, May 15, 1943. 



ater requests for certain types of units 
promptly, The Passenger Branch in the 
Office of the Chief of Transportation esti- 
mated that men shipped overseas made on 
the average between six and seven moves 
at Army expense before sailing. 10 

Many criticisms were leveled at the 
Army because of what appeared to be ex- 
cessive troop movements. These criticisms 
originated with other government agen- 
cies, railroad officials and shippers, and 
soldiers who wanted fewer moves and bet- 
ter travel accommodations. The Army de- 
fended its troop movements and system of 
training and, in the beginning, denied that 
unnecessary moves were made. Later, the 
Commanding General, Army Service 
Forces, and his Chief of Transportation 
became convinced that the number of 
moves could be reduced without military 
disadvantage and requested the com- 
manders of the Army Ground Forces and 
the Army Air Forces to give the subject 
their attention. 11 The War Department 
also endeavored to eliminate unnecessary 
official travel by individuals and to reduce 
group meetings, in line with requests made 
to all government agencies by J. Monroe 
Johnson, the Director of Defense Trans- 
portation, and James F. Byrnes, the 
Director of War Mobilization. 12 

Several officials and divisions in the 
Office of the Chief of Transportation were 
concerned with passenger traffic. The 
Assistant Chief of Transportation for Op- 
erations, Brig. Gen. Robert H. Wylie, had 
an over-all co-ordinating responsibility. 
The Movements Division, headed first by 
Col. (later Brig. Gen.) Andrew F. Mcln- 
tyre and then by Col. Donald E. Farr, was 
concerned especially with the movement 
of troops and troop equipment destined for 
oversea areas, and the co-ordination of in- 

land transportation with staging arrange- 
ments at the ports of embarkation and with 
troop transport schedules. The Rail Divi- 
sion, headed for a time by Mr. Gustav 
Metzman, then by Col. (later Brig. Gen.) 
John A. Appleton, and finally by General 
Mclntyre, represented the Chief of Trans- 
portation in his endeavor to help the rail- 
ways meet their equipment and manpower 
problems so that adequate services could 
be maintained. The Highway Division, 
under the leadership first of Col. Frederick 
C. Horner and then Col. Lacey V. Mur- 
row, performed a similar service for the 
bus operators. The Traffic Control Divi- 
sion was responsible for arrangements with 
the carriers regarding group and individ- 
ual travel, for instructing transportation 
officers in the field concerning their re- 
sponsibilities and assisting them when 
necessary, for the routing of organized 
movements of more than one carload, and 
for controlling special troop movements. 

Under the Chief of Transportation the 
day-to-day task of arranging transporta- 
tion for and supervising the movement of 
the Army's passenger traffic was charged 
to the Traffic Control Division, which was 
headed by Mr. (later Brig. Gen.) William 
J. Williamson. Under The Quartermaster 

10 Memo, CofT for C of Adm Svs SOS, 22 Jan 43, 
OCT 357 New Orleans; Memo, Sp Sv Div for CofT, 
1 1 May 43, OCT 511; Memo, Col Edmund C. R. 
Lasher for Gross, 1 Sep 43; Interv with Col I. Sewell 
Morris, 15 Aug 50 (unless otherwise indicated, all in- 
terviews were conducted by the author); last two in 
OCT HB Traf Cotitl Div Pass. 

11 See Wardlow. op. cit., \p. 34B.| Memo, CG SOS for 
CofT, 20 Jan 43, sub: Use of Rail Trans, OCT 511 
Co-ordination of Troop Mvmts; Memo, CG ASF for 
DCofS USA, 10 Aug 43; Memo, ACofS G-3 for 
DCofS, 10 Aug 43; last two in WDCSA 370.5. 

12 Memo, ODT to All Government Agencies, 20 
May 44; WD Memo W 55-44, 27 May 44, sub; Re- 
duction of Unnecessary Travel; Ltr, SW to Johnson, 
19 Jul 44; Ltr, Actg SW to Byrnes, 1 Feb 45; Memo, 
TAG for CG ASF, 5 Feb 45, sub: Curtailment of Pass 
Traf; all in G-4 510. 



General, who managed Army traffic dur- 
ing peacetime, this function had been per- 
formed by the Commercial Traffic Branch, 
headed by Capt. (later Col.) Edmund C. 
R. Lasher. When responsibility for trans- 
portation and traffic was transferred from 
The Quartermaster General to the Chief 
of Transportation in March 1942, the per- 
sonnel of the Commercial Traffic Branch 
was also transferred and it became the 
foundation on which the Traffic Control 
Division was built. Lasher then became 
Williamson's deputy. 13 

Working Arrangements With the Carriers 

The collaboration of the common car- 
riers and the Army was an outstanding 
example of team work between private 
industry and government in a national 
emergency. It was especially noteworthy 
because, unlike many other industries that 
were wholly or partially withdrawn from 
the civilian field in order that their capac- 
ity might be devoted to war work, the 
carriers continued to meet an expanding 
civilian demand while also filling the mili- 
tary need. The carriers and the Army did 
not always see eye to eye in regard to oper- 
ating and traffic matters, but in the major 
endeavor — moving troops and military 
supplies swiftly and safely to their destina- 
tions — they achieved a high degree of 
understanding and co-operation. 

In his negotiations with the carriers on 
operating and traffic matters the Chief of 
Transportation dealt, so far as possible, 
with agencies representing the respective 
branches of the industry, rather than with 
the individual lines. This not only was ad- 
vantageous from the standpoint of con- 
ducting negotiations and arriving at uni- 
form agreements, but it also facilitated the 
pooling of the equipment of many carriers 

to meet the large military requirements. 

Fortunately the railroads, which carried 
the bulk of the Army's passenger traffic, 
were well organized for this purpose. The 
Association of American Railroads, with 
headquarters in Washington, represented 
lines controlling 97.5 percent of the total 
railroad mileage. Its Car Service Division, 
with Warren C. Kendall as manager, ex- 
ercised a broad influence over the distri- 
bution and employment of the passenger 
cars owned by those lines. The Military 
Transportation Section of the Car Service 
Division, managed during the greater part 
of the war by Arthur H. Gass and later by 
John J. Kelly, was designed to deal exclu- 
sively with the requirements of the armed 
forces, and during the war it was conven- 
iently located adjacent to the Traffic Con- 
trol Division in the Pentagon. In passenger 
traffic matters the railroads were repre- 
sented by seven territorial passenger asso- 
ciations — New England, Trunk Line, 
Central, Southern, Southwestern, Western, 
and Transcontinental — and by the Inter- 
territorial Military Committee on which 
each territorial association was repre- 
sented. This committee, with Hugh W. 
Siddall as chairman, maintained head- 
quarters in Chicago and was the channel 
through which most rate and traffic mat- 
ters were handled between the Army and 
the railroads. 14 

The common carriers by bus were not 
as fully or effectively organized as the rail- 
roads since they constituted a much newer 
branch of the transportation industry and 
many small operators were concerned 
only with local business. The National 

13 Williamson had been general traffic manager of 
a large mail-order house and was one of a number of 
civilian experts who were brought into the TC organ- 
ization to give it the benefit of their experience with 
transportation and tra ffic. 

Wardlow, op. «'<.. pp. 312-14, 



Association of Motor Bus Operators, with 
headquarters in Washington, and the Na- 
tional Bus Traffic Association and National 
Bus Military Bureau, located in Chicago, 
were convenient channels through which 
the Army could negotiate with the opera- 
tors, but their memberships were limited 
and they were much less influential than 
the corresponding organizations in the 
rail field. The use of the commercial air- 
lines for military passenger traffic was 
small enough that no special organizations 
to deal with such traffic were needed. 15 

The working arrangements regarding 
traffic by rail were incorporated in two 
basic agreements that were negotiated 
annually between the territorial passenger 
associations and the armed forces. The 
Joint Military Passenger Agreement was 
the more comprehensive. In addition to 
fare reductions (called allowances in the 
agreement), it covered arrangements 
relating to special cars and special trains, 
the transportation of military baggage 
and impedimenta, the transportation of 
the bodies of deceased military personnel, 
the use of baggage cars as kitchen cars for 
troop trains, and the routing of traffic. 
The Joint Military Passenger Equaliza- 
tion Agreement, which was effective con- 
currently with the Joint Military Passen- 
ger Agreement and considered a part of 
it, committed carriers that were not re- 
quired by law to allow 50 percent land- 
grant deductions from commercial fares in 
favor of military passengers to allow equal 
deductions on corresponding routes, with 
specified exceptions. 16 The so-called land- 
grant rates, a much controverted subject, 
had their origin in the Land Grant Acts 
by which federal lands were ceded to the 
railroads during their developmental 
period. The allowances other than land- 

grant deductions, applicable to both land- 
grant and non-land-grant routes, were 
made by the carriers under Section 22 of 
the Interstate Commerce Act. A few 
coastwise steamship lines with which the 
railroads had through-booking arrange- 
ments were parties to both agreements. 

The Joint Military Passenger Agree- 
ment included separate fare provisions for 
military traffic and nonmilitary traffic. 
Military traffic embraced chiefly commis- 
sioned officers, warrant officers, nurses, 
and enlisted personnel of the U.S. armed 
forces on active duty, and the allowance 
on such traffic was 5 percent from the 
commercial one-way fares for all classes of 
travel between points between which no 
land-grant deductions were applicable, 
and 3 percent from the one-way net fares 
on routes that were subject to land-grant 
deductions. Nonmilitary traffic included 
several categories of persons who were not 
on active military duty but whose trans- 
portation was paid entirely by the U.S. 
armed forces, and the allowance on such 
traffic was 5 percent from one-way com- 
mercial fares in all classes. 

The several classes of transportation 
affected by the fare reductions accorded 
by the Joint Military Passenger Agree- 
ment were designated first class (standard 
sleeper and parlor car), intermediate class 
(tourist sleeper), coach class, and mixed 
class (combination of coach and sleeper). 
Since the Army's policy was to accomplish 
overnight troop movements in tourist 
sleepers rather than in standard sleepers, 

15 OCT HB Monograph 6, pp. 102, 197, 203, 265. 

16 The last agreements during the war were JMPA 
22 and JMPEA 22, both effective 1 July 1945. For the 
historical background of these agreements, see Com- 
ments Prepared by Representatives of the War De- 
partment, Navy Department, and Marine Corps, 
October 15, 1930, on Senate Bill 4447, 71st Cong., 1st 
Sess., OCT HB Topic Mil Pass Agreements. 



it benefited from the railroads' agreement 
to accept intermediate-class fares on many 
routes west of the Mississippi on which 
such fares were not ordinarily available. 
The railroads did not accept the interme- 
diate-class fares east of the Mississippi, but 
collected the first-class fare for all troops 
moved in sleepers, standard or tourist, 
subject of course to the agreed allow- 
ances. 17 

One of the advantages that the rail- 
roads gained under the Joint Military 
Passenger Agreement was the privilege of 
suggesting the routes on which the traffic 
of the armed forces should move. This 
enabled them to distribute the traffic on a 
basis that the carriers accepted as equit- 
able. The Joint Military Passenger Equal- 
ization Agreement enabled the territorial 
passenger associations, which were respon- 
sible for the satisfactory distribution of 
such traffic, to perform that function 
without the complications that would 
have arisen if it had been necessary to 
take land-grant and non-land-grant fares 
into consideration in working out each 
routing. The equalization agreement also 
eliminated the necessity of routing traffic 
on circuitous land-grant routes in order to 
meet the government's insistence on the 
lowest net fare, and in that respect was 
advantageous to both the carriers and the 
armed forces. To the carriers the routing 
privilege was an essential feature of the 
agreement, and they sometimes referred 
to it as the justification for the fare allow- 
ances that they made. The armed forces, 
however, had the right under the agree- 
ments to reject a suggested routing when 
it appeared to be unduly circuitous or 
otherwise disadvantageous from a military 
standpoint. 18 

Another important feature of the Joint 
Military Passenger Agreement from the 

standpoint of the railroads was the clause 
that defined the conditions under which 
the armed forces might use carriers other 
than those parties to the agreement. In 
peacetime and for a period after the 
United States began to rearm, this clause 
committed the armed forces to using the 
services of the railway and coastwise 
steamship lines for all movements except 
when those services were "inadequate to 
meet the military necessity of the Govern- 
ment." As long as this clause was in effect, 
the possibility of moving troops by com- 
-mercial bus or air lines was exceedingly 
limited. Effective 1 July 1941, the clause 
was modified to permit the armed forces 
to use motor and air carriers whenever 
they were able, in the judgment of the 
officers arranging the transportation, to 
provide "more satisfactory service to meet 
the military requirements of the Govern- 
ment." But even under the modified clause 
the railroads were in a preferred position 
with respect to military traffic. 19 

Fare concessions were the key feature of 
the Joint Military Passenger Agreement 
from the Army's standpoint. The Army 
started negotiations for greater conces- 
sions from the railroads soon after the 
emergency began. Whereas the railroads 
always had contended that the routing 
privilege was the feature that justified fare 
concessions beyond the land-grant deduc- 
tions, the Army traditionally had stressed 
the volume and character of its traffic as 
the justification for such concessions. 

At a conference in December 1940, 
when the renewal of the agreement for the 

" OCT HB Monograph 21, p. 27; WD CTB 6, 27 
Jun 44, pars. 3, 4, 5, 6; JMPA 22, Sec. 7(4). 
> B JMPA22,Sec. 27. 

19 JMPA 17, effective 1 Jul 40, Sec. 6, par. 3; JMPA 
18, 1 Jul 41, corresponding par. See OCT HB Mono- 
graph 6, pp. 183-93, for circumstances leading to this 



next fiscal year was being discussed, the 
Army representative requested an increase 
in the allowance on fares affected by land- 
grant deductions from 3 to 12 percent, 
and on other fares from 5 to 15 percent. 
The Army's arguments were that military 
traffic had increased many times since the 
beginning of the emergency, that this 
traffic came to the railroads without the 
usual expense of solicitation, and that 
troop movements permitted the use of 
railway cars with an intensity that was 
not possible in regular traffic. The carriers 
did not accede to this request. They con- 
tended that, while troop traffic permitted 
them some economies, it also entailed 
special arrangements and extraordinary 
expenses. 20 

The Chief of Transportation continued 
the effort to obtain greater fare allowances 
from the railroads to the end of the war, 
but without success. The last move in that 
direction — made in September 1945 — 
was aimed at the situation east of the 
Mississippi, where the railroads collected 
first-class fares for troops moving in either 
tourist or standard sleepers and where 
land-grant deductions were applicable to 
only a limited number of lines. General 
Gross argued that the railroads should 
not get a greater revenue from a sleeper 
carrying soldiers than from one carrying 
civilians. He pointed out that, although 
the Army placed 40 to 50 percent more 
passengers in a car than was possible with 
civilian traffic, the reduction allowed to 
the Army under the Joint Military Pas- 
senger Agreement was only 5 percent. 
He accordingly instructed General Wil- 
liamson to undertake a renegotiation of 
fares on the basis of that principle. 21 Wil- 
liamson left the Army during the follow- 
ing month, and Gross retired at the end of 
November 1945, up to which time the fare 

allowances under the Joint Military Pas- 
senger Agreement remained unchanged. 
Before the end of 1945 Congress took ac- 
tion to abolish land-grant deductions, and 
an entirely new military rate agreement 
then had to be negotiated. 

The abolition of land-grant rates came 
as the culmination of a struggle in which 
the War Department and the railroads 
were on opposite sides. The carriers long 
had contended that the government's 
grants of land to western and southern 
lines in the third quarter of the nineteenth 
century to encourage the extension of rail 
facilities and the settlement of new terri- 
tories no longer justified the deduction of 
50 percent from normal charges when 
government passengers and freight were 
hauled. 22 The War Department was 
reluctant to assume the added transporta- 
tion expense that the discontinuance of 
the deductions would entail. 23 This atti- 
tude was reflected in the Transportation 
Act of 1940, which abolished land-grant 
deductions for other types of government 
traffic but retained them for "military or 
naval property of the United States mov- 
ing for military or naval and not for civil 
use," and for "members of the military or 
naval forces . . . traveling on official 
duty." 24 

The question of total abolition of land- 
grant rates again came before Congress 
during the war, and again the War De- 
partment opposed such action. It cited 

20 OCT HB Monographs 6, pp. 204-07; and 21, pp. 
28-3 1 . 

21 Memo, CofT for Wiljiamson, 5 Sep 45, sub: Pas- 
senger Rates for Mil Travel, OCT HB Gross Day File. 

22 For ihe railroads' position, see Robert S. Henry, 
"The Railroad Land Grant Legend in American His- 
tory Texts." Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 
XXXII, September 1945, pp. 177-94. 

23 Ltr, Actg SW to Chm House Com on Interstate 
and Foreign Commerce, 1 1 Jun 38, G-4/24801-2. 

PL 785, 76th Cong., Title III, Pt. II, Sec. 321(a). 



the favorable financial position of the car- 
riers resulting from the heavy wartime 
traffic, as well as the huge additional cost 
to the Army, which the Chief of Trans- 
portation estimated would be about 
$200,000,000 on passenger and freight 
traffic during a war year. The War De- 
partment, however, indicated that "at 
another time and under other conditions" 
a different situation might obtain, and 
when the question came to a decision soon 
after the end of hostilities the department 
acquiesced. 25 The abolition of land-grant 
rates, effective 1 October 1946, consider- 
ably simplified the arrangements between 
the armed forces and the railroads regard- 
ing transportation charges, and in the 
Joint Military Passenger Agreement that 
became effective concurrently with the 
new law, the fare reduction allowed to the 
armed forces was 10 percent from com- 
mercial fares in all classes. 26 

Although the armed forces did not ob- 
tain greater percentage allowances on 
railroad passenger fares during the war, 
they were successful in adding to the cate- 
gories of passengers eligible for the allow- 
ances. 27 The scope of the term "military 
traffic" was broadened to include enlisted 
reservists recalled to active duty, certain 
female personnel of the Medical Depart- 
ment of the Army, and members of the 
Women's Army Corps. The coverage of 
the term "nonmilitary traffic" was ex- 
tended to include (when traveling on 
transportation requests of the armed 
forces) retired and discharged military 
personnel returning to their homes, per- 
sonnel of the American Red Cross, officers 
of the Army Specialist Corps, student 
nurses (civilians), military personnel of 
nations receiving aid under the Lend- 
Lease Act, and alien enemies, prisoners of 
war, and other interned persons. 28 

The allowances granted under the 
Joint Military Passenger Agreement ap- 
plied only to railroad fares, not to space 
rates in Pullman cars. The Pullman Com- 
pany was not a party to this agreement 
but separately made certain concessions 
to the armed forces. It agreed to provide 
standard sleepers for group movements of 
enlisted men when no tourist sleepers 
were available and to accept tourist 
sleeper berth rates in such cases. It per- 
mitted tourist sleepers to operate and 
tourist berth rates to apply in the eastern 
and southeastern territories, even though 
there were no regular tourist sleeper serv- 
ices in those territorities. The Pullman 
Company permitted the drawing rooms 
of tourist sleepers to be occupied at the 
regular berth rates when the cars were 
being used for military movements. It also 
accepted the berth rate for the shortest 
route between two points when troops 
were routed over a longer route under the 
Joint Military Passenger Equalization 
Agreement. 29 

Since the Army aimed to move troops 
by special trains whenever practicable, 
the conditions under which such arrange- 

25 Ltrs, SW to Chm House Com on Interstate and 
Foreign Commerce and Chm Senate Com on Inter- 
state Commerce, 6 Apr 44, AG 500 (6-2-37)(l) Trans 
by Rail; Memo, CofT for USW, 2 Aug 44, OCT HB 
Gross Day File; Senate Com on Interstate Commerce 
and House Com on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, 
Hearings on HR 4184, 78th Cong., 2d Sess., March 
16-23, 1944; Ltr, SW to Chm Senate Com on Inter- 
state Commerce, 3 Jul 45; Ltr, SW to Dir Bur of 
Budget, 6 Dec 45; last two in AG 500 (26 Mar 45)(1); 
PL 256, 79th Cong., approved 12 Dec 45. 

26 JMPA 23, 1 Oct 46, Sec. 6(1). 

27 OCT HB Monographs 6, p. 206; and 21, pp. 3-5. 
The voluminous correspondence regarding changes in 
JMPA is filed in OCT 551.1 JMPA. 

28 JMPA 22, Sees. 3, 4. 

20 OCT HB Monograph 21, p. 27; Ltr, DC of Traf 
Contl Div OCT to Pullman Co., 26 Jul 45, and reply, 
2 Aug 45, both in OCT 510 Trans of Parties; WD 
CTB 6, revised 9 Jun 45, Sec. V. 



merits would be made by the railroads 
were of considerable importance. At the 
beginning of the war the carriers' tariffs 
required a minimum of 100 first-class 
fares, or equivalent revenue, for the oper- 
ation of a special train. This meant more 
than 100 fares when the troops were mov- 
ing in coaches or tourist sleepers, and the 
Chief of Transportation sought a reduc- 
tion. The result was that during the 
greater part of the war the minimum for a 
special train was 75 first-class fares where 
no land-grant deductions were involved, 
and 90 first-class fares on land-grant 
routes. 30 

Conditions relating to the furnishing of 
special cars on regular trains were not in- 
corporated in the Joint Military Passenger 
Agreement but were covered by informal 
arrangements. The minimum require- 
ment for special sleepers for military 
movements was fifteen passengers. The 
Army requested the railroads to make the 
same arrangement for special coaches and 
also sought to have this feature covered in 
the JMPA, but was only partially success- 
ful. The railroads declined to commit 
themselves without qualification to furnish 
special coaches; however, they agreed to 
do so for the handling of prisoners of war 
and internees for whom special coaches 
obviously were necessary and stated that 
they would furnish special coaches for 
troops to the extent of their ability. The 
minimum requirement for special coaches 
was fixed at twenty-two and a half fares. 31 

The arrangements concerning the 
movement of troop impedimenta were 
evolved in practice rather than fixed by 
agreement. The railroads agreed to equal- 
ize the land-grant freight rates so that 
impedimenta could move with troops at 
the lowest net freight charge, but no 

agreement was reached with regard to 
special trains for this purpose. 32 The 
Army found it advantageous when large 
units were moving to ship the personal 
baggage and the organizational equip- 
ment in advance by special freight trains 
and the troops in special troop trains, 
rather than to move both in mixed trains. 
But the Army did not accept the rail- 
roads' contention that the payment for a 
special impedimenta train should be on 
the same basis as for a mixed train — that 
is, a minimum number of passenger fares 
in addition to the appropriate freight 
charges. When negotiations became dead- 
locked, the Army announced that it no 
longer would request special trains for 
troop impedimenta but would allow the 
carriers to determine whether they could 
best handle the impedimenta in mixed 
trains with troops, or in regular freight 
trains for which only freight charges 
would be assessed. 33 As it worked out, 
most separate impedimenta trains moved 
as regular freight trains, and in emergency 
cases where the Army requested special 
freight train service, it paid the usual addi- 
tional charge for such service. 

The Army and the railroads also were 
at odds concerning liability for the per- 
sonal effects of troops — principally bar- 
racks bags, bedrolls, and foot lockers — 
which were carried as baggage. When 
troops used regular trains, such baggage 
up to 150 pounds per person was checked 
in the usual manner and the railroads as- 

30 OCT HB Monograph 21, pp. 47-51; JMPA 22, 
Sec. 18(3). 

31 OCT HB Monograph 21, pp. 61-62; WD CTB 
22, 29 June 44, Sec. 1. 

32 OQMG Gir Ltr 157, 16 Jul 41, sub: Equalization 
of Rates on Trans of Imped; Memo, IMC for CofT, 
et al., 22Jun 42, OCT 551.2 Mil Imped. 

33 Ltr, IMC to CofT, et at., 29 Jun 43; Ltrs, OCT to 
IMC, 2 Sep 43 and 12 Oct 43; all in OCT 551.1 
JMPA 20. 



sumed the usual liability. When larger 
movements took place, the baggage was 
transported in bulk (unchecked) in un- 
attended baggage cars, and in such in- 
stances the carriers objected to assuming 
full liability. They proposed that a clause 
be inserted in the Joint Military Passenger 
Agreement limiting their liability to 
$25.00 per person on unchecked baggage, 
with a total liability of $2,500 per baggage 
car, unless additional liability was as- 
sumed under an insurance arrangement. 
The Army refused to accept this tender, 
and no such limitation on the carriers' 
liability was included in the wartime 
agreements. 34 

Providing meals for troops traveling by 
rail gave rise to a number of problems 
after heavy movements began. The first 
problem involved the question whether 
troops using regular trains should be pro- 
vided with cash or with tickets to cover 
their meals when rations in kind (food 
boxes) were not furnished. Both the car- 
riers and the Traffic Control Division in 
Washington favored the use of tickets, 
since troops often spent the subsistence 
allowance in other ways and the railroads 
found that they had provided food for 
customers that did not appear. The War 
Department, while directing that tickets 
"ordinarily" would be used, nevertheless 
left it to the officer ordering each move- 
ment to determine whether tickets or cash 
should be provided, on the ground that 
there were occasions when it was inadvis- 
able or impracticable to use meal tickets. 35 
This meant that there was lack of uni- 
formity in regard to movements originat- 
ing with field installations, and the im- 
practical method of giving troops a cash 
allowance to cover meals en route con- 
tinued in use. 

A more serious problem involved the 
decision whether troops would use the 
regular dining car service or would be fed 
from troop kitchen cars attached to regu- 
lar trains. Although the subsistence of 
troops was a Quartermaster function and 
the subject was covered in the Quarter- 
master series of War Department regula- 
tions, the Chief of Transportation took an 
active interest because of the bearing that 
the question had on troop morale and 
discipline. In the early part of the war 
when the decision whether or not to 
attach troop kitchen cars to trains was 
left to the commanding officers of the in- 
stallations originating the movements, it 
often happened that provision was not 
made for kitchen cars when large num- 
bers of troops were moving and that the 
regular dining cars were unable to accom- 
modate both civilians and soldiers. Under 
such circumstances there was likely to be 
a disorderly scramble for food at each stop 
along the route. The regulation accord- 
ingly was changed so that kitchen cars 
were required for all movements of 100 or 
more military personnel involving a jour- 
ney of twenty-four hours or more duration. 
They might be used for movements of 
smaller size or shorter duration if the rail- 
roads could provide them. 36 

At the outset the Army had no special 
kitchen cars. The railroads therefore 
agreed to furnish without charge, for each 
250 troops or fraction thereof (but not for 
less than 100), an empty baggage car in 
which the Army could install kitchen 
equipment. The early practice was to re- 

" OCT HB Monograph 21, pp. 92-93; JMPA 22, 
Sec. 23. 

31 WD Clr 209, 6 Oct 41; AR 30-2215, 1 Feb 44, 
par. 2; OCT HB Monograph 6, pp. 256-68. 

36 AR 30-2215, 14Jun 43, par. 2; AR 30-2215, 1 
Feb 44, par. 2, and Changes 2, 27 Jul 45; OCT HB 
Monograph 21, pp. 81-83. 



move the kitchen equipment at the end 
of each trip and ship it back to the station 
of origin and to return the car to the rail- 
road. When troop movements became 
a constant operation, the installation and 
removal of kitchen equipment was found 
to be both time-consuming and costly, 
and the wear and tear on the cars was 
considerable. The establishment of a per- 
manent pool of converted baggage cars 
was then proposed, but the need for 
cars in regular baggage service placed 
limits on the execution of the plan. The 
situation was relieved when the govern- 
ment began to acquire special troop kitch- 
en cars. Nevertheless, baggage cars were 
needed for kitchen purposes to the end of 
the war, and the somewhat complicated 
arrangements concerning their employ- 
ment were detailed in the Joint Military 
Passenger Agreement. 37 

Special arrangements were necessary in 
connection with the operation of the gov- 
ernment-owned troop sleepers and troop 
kitchen cars that began to enter service 
late in 1943. The first order for 1,200 
troop sleepers and 400 troop kitchen cars 
was placed by the Defense Plant Corpora- 
tion in March 1943, and a duplicate order 
was placed in May 1945. 38 The troop 
sleepers provided berths for thirty persons, 
in ten tiers of three berths each, arranged 
crosswise. Although the cars were of sim- 
plified design and the facilities were utili- 
tarian, the troop sleepers were adequate 
and they were far preferable to coaches 
for overnight travel. The troop kitchen 
cars also were of simplified design, but 
they were well equipped and were a great 
improvement over converted baggage 
cars. The underlying purpose in the con- 
struction of both types of cars was to pro- 
vide additional troop train equipment 

with a minimum expenditure of scarce 
materials and production time. 39 

The operating arrangements pertaining 
to these government-owned cars were cov- 
ered by interlocking contracts between 
the Defense Plant Corporation and the 
Pullman Company, and between the As- 
sociation of American Railroads and the 
Pullman Company. 40 Briefly stated, the 
arrangements were as follows: The rail- 
roads paid a mileage rate and the Pull- 
man Company paid a rental fee to the 
Defense Plant Corporation for the use of 
the cars. The Pullman Company operated 
and maintained the troop sleepers in 
much the same manner as it operated and 
maintained its owned equipment. The 
Pullman Company assigned the troop 
kitchen cars to service in accordance with 
the needs of the armed forces, and was re- 
sponsible for their maintenance as rail- 
road equipment at the expense of the 
Defense Plant Corporation; the armed 
forces provided and maintained the kitch- 
en equipment, provided the kitchen sup- 
plies and mess crews, and were responsible 
for interior cleaning. 

The principal traffic arrangements 
between the armed forces and the carriers 
regarding the use of troop sleepers and 
troop kitchen cars were included in a spe- 

17 WD Cir 181, 27 Aug 41, Sec. Ill; AR 55-135, 31 
Aug 42, par. 2; JMPA 22, 1 Jul 45, Sec. 24; OCT HB 
Monograph 21, pp. 51-58. 

as Circumstances leading to the placement of these 
orders are discussed in Wardlow, op. «'f., |pp. 333-34.1 

35 These special sleepers and kitchen cars were of 
all-steel construction, 54 feet-2 inches long over the 
bumpers, and had no vestibules. They had two 
4-wheel high-speed trucks and were equipped for 
operation in regular passenger train service. For fur- 
ther technical details, see file OCT HB Rail Div 
Troop Sleepers and Kitchen Cars. 

10 Both contracts were published in a pamphlet, 
Special Troop Car Contracts, OCT HB Rail Div 
Troop Sleepers and Kitchen Cars. 




troop kitchen cars en route to a port. 

cial agreement published each year in 
connection with the Joint Military Passen- 
ger Agreement but not as a part of it. 41 
For transportation in troop sleepers the 
armed forces paid the railroads fares equal 
to two thirds of the normal one-way first- 
class fares, except that when such fares 
were greater than the net military fares 
under JMPA the lesser fares were appli- 
cable. 42 For Pullman service the armed 
forces paid the Pullman Company a troop 
sleeper berth rate equal to one third of the 
sum of the lower and upper berth rates 
applicable to tourist sleeping cars. The 
agreement provided that the Pullman 
Company would assign troop sleepers only 
when tourist sleepers were not available, 

but because of the urgent need both types 
were continuously in use. 

To cover the movement of kitchen cars, 
the armed forces paid the carriers (rail- 
roads and Pullman Company) a rate of 
six cents a mile regardless of whether the 
cars were moving in service or out of serv- 
ice. In addition, members of the military 
mess crews of kitchen cars paid fares 
according to the class of the cars in which 
they had passenger accommodations. Re- 
quests for the assignment of kitchen cars 

41 Joint Agreement T 3, 14 Apr 45, published with 
JMPA 22, embraced changes to date in original agree- 
ment of 1 1 March 1943. 

12 Troop sleeper railroad fares were applicable 
throughout the country, although tourist (intermedi- 
ate) fares applied only west of the Mississippi. 



were made to the Pullman Company by 
the several armed services when they 
arranged for coaches or sleepers to move 
their troops. An Army officer was detailed 
to the Pullman Company headquarters in 
Chicago to co-ordinate these requests and 
eliminate unnecessary deadhead mileage. 
By agreement among the armed services a 
deadhead movement of a kitchen car was 
charged to the service for which the last 
in-service movement of the car was made. 43 

During the war the Army built up a 
fleet of 320 hospital cars and 60 medical 
kitchen cars, and separate arrangements 
were made covering the operation of this 
equipment over the carriers' lines and the 
fares to be paid for the transportation of 
patients and attendants. 44 The terms that 
the Chief of Transportation accepted after 
long negotiation and after some of the 
hospital cars were already in service were 
not satisfactory to him, and he made re- 
peated efforts to have them modified. He 
argued that the railroads should not get a 
greater revenue from the government- 
owned hospital cars than for moving pa- 
tients in Pullman cars. The railroads were 
unwilling to meet his proposal that they 
either pay a mileage rate to the govern- 
ment or reduce the fares, but they finally 
agreed to assume certain routine servicing 
charges retroactively. 45 After the war spe- 
cial arrangements were made between the 
Army and the railroads concerning the 
use of 1 18 government-owned mortuary 
cars, which were employed for transport- 
ing the remains of World War II dead 
after repatriation from overseas. 46 

Early in the emergency the railroads, 
acting on their own initiative, granted re- 
duced rates to members of the armed 
forces traveling at their own expense while 

on furlough, leave, or pass. Initially the 
reductions varied in the different territories 
and they were offered only for limited 
periods. The War Department urged the 
railroads to adopt uniform rates and to 
make the reductions effective for the entire 
war period. Eventually this was done. 47 A 
round-trip coach fare of one and a quarter 
cents a mile, good for thirty days from 
date of sale, was allowed to members of 
the armed forces traveling in uniform and 
holding furlough fare identification certifi- 
cates. This fare was less than the average 
that the government paid for troops mak- 
ing official moves. 48 Several bills were in- 
troduced in Congress proposing greater 
reductions on furlough tickets, but they 
were not passed. The War Department 
considered the fares adopted voluntarily 
by the railroads to be equitable and did 
not favor forcing the carriers to furnish 
this service at a loss. The department also 
opposed a plan to have furloughees pay 
one cent a mile and the government pay 
the remainder of the tariff fares. 49 

43 OCT HB Monograph 21, pp. 32-36, 74-80. Con- 
cerning requests for assignment of kitchen cars, see 
Memo, CofTfor 6th ZTO, 30Jun 43, OCT 531.2 
Troop Sleepers and Kitchen Cars. 

14 Wardlow, op. cit., bp. 381^11; OCT HB Mono- 
graph 2 1, pp. 36-38; WD Memo W 55-33-43, 10 Aug 

43, sub: Trans of Hosp Cars and Trains. 

45 Ltr, DC of Traf Contl Div to W. C. Kendall, 
Chm Car Service Div AAR, 31 Jul 43, OCT 080 
AAR; Ltr, CofT to John J. Pelley, Pres AAR, 10 May 
45, OCT 53 1.4 Hosp Train; Ltrs, C of Rail Div OCT 
for Charles H. Buford, Vice Pres AAR, 16 and 30 
May 45, OCT 080 AAR; Ltr, AAR to C of Rail Div 
OCT, 30 Jun 45, OCT HB Rail Div Hosp Cars. 

15 Ltr, IMC to CofT, 3 Sep 47, OCT HB Rail Div 
Mortuary Cars. 

41 OCT HB Monograph 6, pp. 210-13. 

18 Ltr, SW to Sen H. Styles Bridges, 30 Jun 41; Ltr, 
Adm Asst to SW to Sen W. Lee O'Daniel, 1 Apr 42; 
both in OSW Trans 501-800; WD Cir 350, 28 Aug 

44, Sec. VIII; WD Cir 103, 3 Apr 45, Sec. V. 
ta Ltr, SW to Rep Andrew J, May, 14 Jul 41; Ltr, 

SW to Sen Burton K. Wheeler, 10 Mar 42; both in 
OSW Trans 501-800. 



The question was raised whether under 
Section 22 of the Interstate Commerce 
Act the railroads had authority to allow 
fare reductions to members of the armed 
forces when they were traveling at their 
own expense. This question was removed 
by an act of Congress, passed in September 
1944, which authorized special furlough 
fares. 50 

The general policy of the bus lines was 
to allow special furlough fares, but there 
was no uniformity in the fares available in 
different sections of the country because of 
the varying rate structures. The War De- 
partment accordingly instructed service- 
men and servicewomen to apply to local 
representatives of the motor carriers re- 
garding the availability and the amount 
of furlough fares. 51 

The railroads transported most of the 
troops and the working arrangements be- 
tween them and the armed forces were 
complicated; only the basic features have 
been mentioned. No simple set of rules 
could cover the many departures from 
regular tariffs and regular operating prac- 
tices that were involved in the handling of 
military traffic. The arrangements also 
fluctuated because the underlying circum- 
stances changed radically when the United 
States undertook a large rearmament pro- 
gram in 1940, and again when the nation 
became engaged in a global war. Although 
there were many disagreements between 
the carriers and the Army regarding terms 
and conditions, these disagreements did 
not affect the actual movement of military 
personnel. From that standpoint the Chief 
of Transportation, representing the Army, 
and the Military Transportation Section, 
representing the railroads, literally worked 
side by side and were in constant contact 
on all matters affecting movements, so 

that these matters were dealt with 
promptly, and in the great majority of 
cases satisfactorily for the Army. 52 

Army Policies and Procedures 

The Army's policy regarding the man- 
agement of its passenger traffic was essen- 
tially one of centralization. The regulations 
and instructions covering all aspects of 
this traffic were issued by the War Depart- 
ment, and they reflected chiefly the expe- 
rience and doctrine of the Chief of 
Transportation. He was responsible for 
all negotiations with the carriers relating 
to services, charges, and other traffic ar- 
rangements. All agencies of the War 
Department in Washington were directed 
to apply to him for information on such 
matters and to avoid maintaining dupli- 
cate staffs. 53 All of the larger organized 
groups of Army personnel were routed 
under the supervision of the Chief of 
Transportation, and he arranged with the 
carriers for the necessary equipment and 
controlled the timing of the movements 
within limits allowed by the movement 
orders. This policy of centralization was 
maintained throughout the war despite 
objections in some quarters and proposals 
to modify it. 

The efforts to alter the policy came from 
two sources. During the summer of 1942 a 

50 PL 436, 78th Cong., 27 Sep 44. Ltr, Armed 
Forces to IMC, 8 Nov 46, OCT 551.1 Furlough Fares, 
reviewed development of furlough fares and requested 

51 WD Cir 350, 28 Aug 44, Sec. VIII, par. 2. 

52 The methods of this collaboration and the major 
difficulties will be discussed in later sections of this 

53 AR 55-105, 29 Dec 42, par. 2. Essentially the 
same policy was followed concerning freight traffic, 
as will be seen inlCh. IVl below. 



survey of the service commands, con- 
ducted by the Control Division of the 
Services of Supply headquarters, disclosed 
a sentiment in favor of delegating certain 
authorities from Washington to the field, 
including the authority to route group 
movements. The Chief of Transportation 
successfully opposed the decentralization 
of routing; he argued that central control 
was necessary to insure the economical 
use of the carriers' equipment, to obtain 
an equitable and practical distribution of 
traffic among the carriers, to facilitate the 
control and diversion of movements en 
route, and to permit a national program 
to be formulated and timely notice to be 
given to the carriers concerning prospec- 
tive requirements for their services. 54 The 
Army Air Forces, which late in 1942 had 
obtained a delegation of authority from 
the Chief of Transportation to control its 
own domestic freight movements, sug- 
gested that a similar arrangement be made 
with regard to passenger traffic. This sug- 
gestion was made informally on a number 
of occasions to the Traffic Control Divi- 
sion, but it received no encouragement 
from that quarter and probably for that 
reason it was not put forward on a higher 
level. 55 

The regulation relating to the size of 
groups to be routed in Washington was 
changed several times during the emer- 
gency. Initially all groups of fifteen or 
more were routed by The Quartermaster 
General. When the Selective Service Act 
was passed in September 1940, it was fore- 
seen that group travel would increase 
greatly. The regulation was therefore 
changed so that only groups numbering 
fifty or more would be routed in Washing- 
ton. The primary purpose of this change 
was to remove the possibility of delay in 
the movement of the smaller groups while 

routings were being obtained from Wash- 
ington, and to lighten the burden on The 
Quartermaster General. In January 1943 
the regulation was changed again, and 
routings for groups of forty or more were 
thereafter provided by the Chief of Trans- 
portation, who in the meantime had taken 
over this responsibility from The Quarter- 
master General. Under the Army plan of 
berthing, up to thirty-nine passengers 
could be accommodated in a sleeping car, 
and the last change was prompted by the 
desire to have centralized routing for all 
movements involving more than one car- 
load. When a group was not sufficiently 
large to require routing in Washington, the 
Army transportation officers at the origi- 
nating stations made arrangements for the 
shipments with local representatives of the 
carriers. 36 

Routings provided by the Chief of 
Transportation were established by his 
Traffic Control Division on the basis of 
proposals made by the territorial passen- 
ger associations of the railroads. These 
associations had representatives in Wash- 
ington attached to the Military Transpor- 
tation Section of the Association of 
American Railroads. As has been indi- 
cated, the main purpose of the associations 
in proposing routings was to insure proper 
distribution of the traffic among the rail 
lines. When the Army regulation was 

54 Memo, CG SOS for CofT, 24 Jul 42, sub: Decen- 
tralization of Actions; Memo, C of Traf Contl Div 
OCT for CofT, 30 Jul 42; both in OCT 323.3 SvCs. 

55 Interv with Morris, 26 Jun 50, OCT HB Traf 
Contl Div Pass. 

56 AR 30-930, 6 Nov 30, par. 8; WD Cir 101, 12 
Sep 40, Sec. II; AR 55-130, 28 Dec 42, par. 8; WD 
Cir 28, 22 Jan 43, Sec. IV. The commonest type of 
sleeper had twelve sections and one drawing room, 
and the total of thirty-nine resulted from placing three 
enlisted men in each section and three in the drawing 



changed in September 1940 to permit the 
local routing of groups comprising up to 
forty-nine men, rather than up to fourteen, 
the railroads protested on the ground that 
permitting this considerable traffic to be 
routed by local Army transportation offi- 
cers would result in an inequitable distri- 
bution of business. As a result of this 
protest, arrangements were made that, 
when moving groups of from fifteen to 
forty-nine, the local transportation officers 
would obtain suggested routings from 
designated representatives of the carriers 
located at or near their installations, who 
in turn would be governed by instructions 
from the responsible associations. 57 Fre- 
quently this representative was the nearest 
agent of a railroad serving the installa- 
tion, but full-time agents of the territorial 
passenger associations were assigned to 
stations where traffic was especially heavy. 

The arrangements under which the ter- 
ritorial passenger associations proposed 
routings for the larger group movements 
relieved the Chief of Transportation of a 
heavy responsibility, but they also created 
a problem. The Chief of Transportation 
could reject a proposed routing if he con- 
sidered it unsatisfactory from the military 
standpoint, in which case the association 
concerned endeavored to meet his objec- 
tion. 58 More often the objection originated 
with the Military Transportation Section 
because it anticipated difficulty in provid- 
ing equipment. If the association resisted 
changing the route, the Traffic Control 
Division was placed in the cross fire of an 
argument between the two agencies of the 
railroads representing the operating and 
the traffic points of view. Col. I. Sewell 
Morris, who was in charge of the Passen- 
ger Branch of the Traffic Control Division 
during the greater part of the war, ex- 
pressed the opinion that when such a situ- 

ation arose the manager of the MTS 
should have had authority to decide the 
issue for the railroads, since the prompt 
execution of the movement was the 
primary consideration. 50 

Differences between the operating and 
traffic interests of the railroads came out 
in another connection. The Army stated 
as a general principle that passengers 
would be forwarded by the "most eco- 
nomical usually traveled routes." 00 The 
primary purpose was to insure that advan- 
tage would be taken of land-grant rates 
wherever they were applicable. In peace- 
time there was no occasion for deviation 
from the principle, but during the war 
there were times when the most econom- 
ical routes were congested and other 
routes were more favorable to expeditious 
movement. The Military Transportation 
Section urged the avoidance of congested 
routes and the Chief of Transportation 
supported that view. The territorial pas- 
senger associations, on the other hand, 
favored the "usually traveled routes," 
partly because their plans for the distribu- 
tion of traffic among the lines were worked 
out on the basis of such routings, and 
partly because the railroads could not col- 
lect higher fares from the government 
when they proposed other routes. Here 
again the Traffic Control Division con- 
tended that, when the operating and 

57 Ltr, OQMG to IMC, 28 Sep 40; Ltr, IMC to 
TQMG, 19 Oct 40; both in OCT 511 (AR 30-930). 

58 The associations did not always take such rejec- 
tions without an argument. See Memo, Morris for Sid- 
dall, Chm IMC, 2 May 44, OCT 511; OCT HB 
Monograph 21, pp. 17, 18. 

59 See Colonel Morris' monograph, Adequacy of 
Transportation Facilities in the United States to Han- 
dle Troop Movements of the Military Establishment 
During a War Emergency, submitted to the Industrial 
College of the Armed Forces, 25 Feb 49, p. 52; here- 
after cited as Morris monograph. 

60 AR 55-105, 29 Dec 42, par. 4a. 



traffic interests of the carriers were in con- 
flict, the operating point of view should 
govern. 61 

Decision as to the type of carrier to be 
used in moving military personnel was 
made by the routing authority — the 
Traffic Control Division for the larger 
groups, and post transportation officers 
for smaller groups and individuals. Guid- 
ing principles for such decisions were set 
forth in instructions issued by the War 
Department and the Chief of Transporta- 
tion. In the summer of 1941 the railroads 
had reluctantly consented to the change in 
the agreement between the armed forces 
and the railroads that permitted greater 
use of the bus lines and airlines than had 
been possible previously. Afterwards they 
complained repeatedly when they had 
reason to believe that the new clause in 
the agreement was being misapplied to 
the advantage of the motor carriers. These 
complaints involved chiefly routings by 
local transportation officers, and late in 
1941 railway representatives suggested 
that these officers be instructed to confer 
with the rail agents near their stations be- 
fore using any other type of transporta- 
tion. The Army transportation officials in 
Washington refused to go along with this 
suggestion, but they investigated each 
specific complaint made by the railroads 
and in general endeavored to see that the 
spirit of the agreement was carried out. 62 

The question of bus versus rail routing 
was particularly acute in connection with 
the transportation of selectees. Soon after 
the passage of the Selective Service Act in 
September 1940, the Army and the Selec- 
tive Service System agreed that the latter 
agency would be responsible for the trans- 
portation of men from their homes or 
draft boards to the induction stations, 

while the Army through its regular trans- 
portation machinery would control subse- 
quent movements. 63 The traffic into the 
induction stations consequently did not 
come under the Joint Military Passenger 
Agreement between the armed forces and 
the railroads. Buses were well adapted to 
handle it since the groups were small and 
the distances usually were short. Selective 
Service therefore entered into an agree- 
ment concerning such movements with 
the motor carriers through the National 
Bus Traffic Association. Meanwhile, to fa- 
cilitate rail movements from induction 
stations to reception centers, the Interter- 
ritorial Military Committee of the rail- 
roads established blanket routings, which 
dispensed with the necessity of obtaining 
a routing for each group. Close collabora- 
tion between Army transportation officers 
and the Selective Service System was 
necessary in order to keep the selectees 
moving promptly through the induction 
stations. As a result of this collaboration, 
groups that the railroads believed should 
have been routed by rail were routed out 
of the stations by bus. In this case, as in 
others, the Chief of Transportation issued 
instructions designed to promote strict 
observance of the agreement with the rail 
carriers. 64 

The Army's use of commercial buses 
increased steadily after the United States 
entered the war. There were many points 
that were not served directly by rail. 
Moreover, routing by highway was en- 

61 Interv with Morris, 28 Jun 50, OCT HB Traf 
Contl Div Pass. 

62 OCT HB Monograph 21, pp. 13, 14, 16. See also 
Ltr, Western Mil Bur to CofT, 16 Feb 44, sub: Use of 
Buses versus RRs, and subsequent correspondence, 
OCT 5 11. 

G:l See AR 615-500, 1 Sep 42, par. 12. 
64 OCT HB Monographs 6, pp. 264-69; 20, pp. 
58-63; 21, pp. 20-25. 



couraged by the Traffic Control Division 
when short hauls were involved because 
of the quicker delivery given by the motor 
carriers, their flexibility due to freedom 
from fixed terminals, and the limited sup- 
ply of railroad passenger equipment. The 
use of buses for long trips and for large 
groups was not favored because of the 
lack of sleeping facilities, problems of 
messing en route when troop units were 
being moved, and the limited space avail- 
able for baggage that accompanied the 
troops. It was the general policy that, ex- 
cept under emergency conditions, rout- 
ings by highway would be limited to trips 
that started after 6:00 A.M. and ended 
before the following midnight. 65 

Use of commercial airlines for military 
travel was limited by the scarcity of space 
and by the requirement that the most 
economical route be used. More than half 
of the commercial aircraft in operation in 
the zone of interior when the United 
States entered the war were requisitioned 
by the Army, and the airlines discon- 
tinued a 5 percent reduction that they 
had been allowing to military personnel. 
The Army then made provision for the 
use of commercial aircraft, despite the 
higher fare, when time or other exigencies 
of the service did not permit travel by 
other means and military aircraft were 
not available or could not be used eco- 
nomically. 66 When the Army began re- 
turning requisitioned aircraft late in the 
war, some of the airlines reinstated fare 
reductions. Since air rates were fluctuat- 
ing at that time and the reductions were 
not uniformly applicable, local transpor- 
tation officers found it difficult, in cases 
not covered by the emergency provision, 
to determine when the air route was the 
most economical. To overcome this diffi- 
culty, the requirement that the most 

economical route be always used was tem- 
porarily lifted. Late in March 1945, with 
a view to the needs of the redeployment 
period, transportation officers were in- 
structed that commercial air passage 
could be furnished if the cost to the gov- 
ernment did not exceed the lowest airline 
tariff in effect on 1 March 1945 between 
the points involved. 67 

Of the total traffic moved on War De- 
partment transportation requests, for 
which data are available only for the 
period December 1941 through May 
1943, 83.8 percent moved by rail, 16.0 
percent by motor, and the remainder by 
air and water. 68 Of the traffic that moved 
in organized groups under routings pro- 
vided by the central routing authority in 
Washington, data for which are available 
throughout the period December 1941- 
December 1945, 97.25 percen t moved by 
rail a nd 2.75 percent by bus. ( \Tables l\ and 
\Thnd \Chart I ) The fact that travel by bus 
constituted a considerably larger percent- 
age of the total traffic than of the organized 
group traffic routed in Washington reflects 
the policy of using buses only for travel by 
individuals and small parties and for the 
shorter trips. 

The Army-owned motor vehicles in- 
cluded in the organic equipment of troop 
units were used in executing troop move- 
ments so far as practicable, but the relief 
that they afforded the commercial car- 
riers was not great. Organic vehicles were 
trucks and hence not well adapted to 

w OCT Cir 18, 12 Jun 42, par. 9a; WD Cir 358, 4 
Sep 44, Sec. IV, par. 2c. 

66 AR 55-120, 26 Apr 43, sub: Trans of Indiv, 
par. 36. 

67 Ltr, Fiscal Dir ASF to Comptroller Gen of the 
U.S., 22 Mar 43, AG 584. 1 (24 Mar 45); WD Cir 95, 
27 Mar 45, Sec. I; OCT HB Monograph 21, pp. 

See n. 4, above. 



Table 1 — Army Passengers Moved by Commercial Rail and Bus in Organized Groups 
on Routings Provided by the Central Routing Authority in Washington: 
December 1941-December 1945 * 




Bus b 

35, 848, 700 

34, 862, 600 

986, 100 

255, 300 

250, 100 

5, 200 


7, 237, 200 

7, 056, 600 



10, 121, 900 

9, 912, 500 


8, 527, 800 

8, 301,000 



9, 706, 500 

9, 342, 400 


* Up to January 1943 all groups of fifty or more were routed in Washington, thereafter groups of forty or more. 

b Figures for bus traffic are number of passengers routed; the number actually moved was slightly less, but data are not available. 

Source: Data originally compiled by Transport Economics Section, Traffic Control Division, OCT, and reworked for a statistical volume 
of this scries, now in preparation. 

Table 2 — Analysis of Army Passenger Traffic Moved by Rail in Organized Groups 
on Routings Provided by Central Routing Authority in Washington: December 
1941-December 1945 a 


Number of 

Number of 

Number of 
Cars Used b 

Average Men 
Per Group 

Average Men 
Per Car 

Average Miles 


34, 862, 600 

205, 675 

824, 734 



1, 104 





250, 100 
7, 056, 600 
9, 912, 500 

8, 301, 000 

9, 342, 400 

37, 561 

175, 543 
238, 133 
197, 372 
207, 733 




1, 129 
1, 127 

■ Up to January 1943 all groups of fifty or more were routed in Washington, thereafter groups of forty or more, 
b Includes only sleepers and coaches through June 1945; hospital cars are also included beginning in July 1945. 

Source: Data originally compiled by Transport Economics Section, Traffic Control Division, OCT, and reworked for a statistical volume 
of this series, now in preparation. 

long, continuous troop hauls. Problems of 
bivouac and messing were involved in 
making long trips by motor, and delays 
en route for these purposes made such 
movements slow compared with those ac- 
complished by rail. When troops were 
being transferred without their equip- 
ment, the round trip of the vehicles, with 
empty backhaul, was an expensive mode 
of transportation. During the early part of 

the war Army regulations sanctioned the 
use of organic vehicles for movements up 
to 500 miles at the discretion of the agency 
initiating the movement order; in April 
1943 the distance was reduced to 350 
miles, but within a few months it was ex- 
tended again to 500 miles for administra- 
tive movements and 600 miles for training 
movements in or out of maneuver areas. 
The latter action was taken in order to 



Chart 1 — Army Passengers Moved Monthly by Rail and Bus in Organized Groups 
on Routings Provided by the Central Routing Authority in Washington: 
December 1941-December 1945* 







* Up to January 1943 all groups of fifty or more were routed in Washington; the.eafter groups of farty or more. Rail 
figures arc possengers actually moved,- bus Figures ore passengers routed, some of whom did not actually move. 

Source: Data originally compiled by Troffic Control Division, OCT, and reworked for a statistical volume of this series, 
now in preparation. 

afford as much relief as possible to the 
railroads, 69 

The many types of passengers moved 
under Army auspices necessitated rather 
elaborate regulations regarding the types 
of railway accommodations to be fur- 
nished. In brief, the following arrange- 
ments were in effect: standard sleeping 
car accommodations or parlor car seats 
(designated in the transportation requests 
as first class) were furnished to commis- 
sioned officers, noncommissioned officers 
of the first three grades, nurses, and de- 
pendents of military personnel making a 
permanent change of station; noncommis- 
sioned officers below the third grade and 
enlisted men were furnished tourist sleep- 
ing car accommodations (intermediate 

class) if the journey exceeded twelve hours 
and ended after midnight, otherwise they 
were furnished seats in day coaches (coach 
class). 70 Tourist cars were the older types 
of standard sleeping cars for which the 
same fare was charged as for coaches, plus 
a berth rate smaller than that for stand- 
ard sleeping cars. The carriers did not 

69 WD Cir 193, 16Jun 42, par. 2; WD Gir 102, 15 
Apr 43, par, 2; WD Cir 189, 21 Aug 43, Sec. IV, par. 
2. These regulations ostensibly applied also to move- 
ments by commercial buses, but in that respect the 
Traffic Control Division considered them in conflict 
with the Joint Military Passenger Agreement and did 
not give them effect. See Memo, Traf Contl Div for 
Adm Div OCT, 1 7 Feb 43, par. 6, OCT 511; WD Cir 
233, 10 Jun 44, Sec. IV, par. 2; Interv with Morris, 
20 Jul 50, OCT HB Traf Contl Div Pass. 

70 AR 55-125, 9 Jan 43, sub: Sleeping Car and 
Similar Accommodations, par. 2; WD TM 55-525, 
June 1945, Sleeping Car and Similar Accommoda- 



make enough sleepers available to accom- 
modate all the troops entitled to them 
under the regulations. When a shortage of 
sleepers occurred at a particular point, 
those available were assigned to the troops 
making the longer journeys. 

Except under circumstances specified 
in the regulation, transportation requests 
were to call for through transportation for 
the entire journey directed in the travel 
orders. The purpose of this requirement 
was to prevent the "splitting" of transpor- 
tation requests — issuing one request for 
coaches for the day portion and another 
for sleeping car accommodations for the 
night portion of the same trip — a practice 
that would have wasted transportation 
equipment. The railroads objected to the 
splitting of transportation requests also on 
the ground that it deprived them of rev- 
enue — that is, sleeping car rates for the 
entire journey. 71 

When groups of enlisted men traveled 
in tourist or standard sleeping cars, two 
men were assigned to each lower berth 
and one to each upper. 72 This in effect in- 
creased the capacity of a car by 50 per- 
cent as compared with regular traffic. The 
Navy assigned only one enlisted man to a 
lower berth during the greater part of the 
war, although an effort was made in the 
fall of 1942 to have it adopt the Army 
practice. After redeployment began and 
the need for sleeping accommodations for 
long hauls became exceptionally heavy, 
the Director of Defense Transportation 
proposed that four servicemen be assigned 
to each section. The Army declined to go 
along with this proposal on the ground 
that it was not "practical" to place two in 
every berth since double berthing was not 
satisfactory for large men. It objected also 
to the application of such a rule to the 
armed services while civilians were per- 
mitted to engage a berth for one person. 

The Army again appealed to the Navy to 
place two enlisted men in each lower 
berth, but the Navy again declined on 
grounds of "health, morals, and comfort." 
The issue between the Army and the 
Navy was resolved in July 1945, when the 
Office of Defense Transportation ordered 
that three men be assigned to each sleep- 
ing car section in all organized military 
movements. 73 

When groups of enlisted men were 
moved in day coaches, the Army used as 
many of the seats as was considered feasi- 
ble. On day trips 90 percent of the seating 
capacity was used for passengers, the re- 
mainder being reserved for their personal 
equipment. In the beginning, when over- 
night trips were made in coaches, only 
one soldier was assigned to each double 
seat in order that the men might obtain as 
much rest as possible. Later, when the 
shortage of passenger cars became acute, 
the practice was changed and three men 
were assigned to two double seats. When 
coaches with reclining seats were made 
available for overnight trips, the 90-per- 
cent rule was applied. While as a general 
practice Army transportation officers and 
railroad officials were governed by these 
standards, heavier or lighter loading 
sometimes occurred when conditions re- 
quired it. 74 

Individuals traveling first class at gov- 
ernment expense were entitled, under an 
act of Congress, to transportation "not to 

71 AR 55-1 10, 22 Jan 43, sub: Trans Requests, par. 
10a; OCT HB Monograph 22, p. 44. 

72 AR 55-125, 9 Jan 43, par. 2c(l). 

73 OCT HB Monographs 20, p. 54; 22, p. 86; Ltr, 
ODT to US W, 30 Jun 45, and reply, 4 Jul 45, OCT 
HB Gross ODT; Ltr, SW to SN, 5 Jul 45, and reply, 
13 Jul 45; both in G-4 510, Vol. Ill; Memo, Col Luke 
W. Finlay for Gross, 17 Jul 45, pp. 2, 3, OCT HB 
Gross Day File; ODT GO 56, 20 Jul 45. 

74 AR 55-130, 28 Dec 42, par 6b; Changes 1, 26 Apr 
43; Ltr, Lasher to Buford, Vice Pres AAR, 1 8 Dec 43, 
OCT 511. 



exceed the lowest first-class rate." The 
Comptroller General had interpreted this 
to limit accommodations to lower berths 
or parlor car seats on trains to which the 
standard first-class fare applied. During 
the war these requirements worked a 
hardship on officers who were traveling 
under closely planned schedules, since 
they either had to forego the use of extra- 
fare trains with consequent delays or had 
to pay the difference from their per diem 
allowance. To remedy this situation, the 
Army obtained from the Comptroller 
General a revised ruling that permitted 
the use of extra-fare trains when it was 
determined by the authority directing the 
travel that the mission could not be ac- 
complished by the use of regular-fare 
trains. Officers using extra-fare trains 
were limited to lower berths when the 
trains offered such accommodations, or to 
the lowest cost accommodation on trains 
that offered only superior accommoda- 
tions. Provision was made for couriers car- 
rying secret documents as hand baggage 
to occupy superior accommodations when 
this was considered desirable from the 
standpoint of security. 75 

The problems connected with the trans- 
portation of Negro troops constitute a very 
broad subject, and no attempt will be 
made here to discuss them in detail. 76 It 
was an Army policy that there should be 
no discrimination between whites and 
Negroes, and the Chief of Transportation 
endeavored to enforce that policy to the 
extent of his ability. On special trains and 
buses operated under Army control en- 
forcement was not difficult, but a different 
situation prevailed when the regularly 
scheduled services of the carriers were in- 
volved. In certain states the laws required 
segregation, and the Army took the atti- 
tude that such laws should be obeyed 

when military personnel used public con- 
veyances for official or personal travel. 
Efforts by carriers' employees to enforce 
the laws, sometimes tempered by personal 
prejudices, created many unpleasant situ- 
ations for Negro servicemen. Complaints 
received by the War Department, some- 
times directly and sometimes through 
members of Congress or civic groups, were 
investigated carefully to ascertain the facts 
and to correct abuses. The railroads were 
requested to use special care to supply 
Negro troops with equal accommodations. 
Service commanders were requested to 
see that equal treatment was provided by 
bus operators serving Army installations 
and were informed that vehicles would be 
made available from the Transportation 
Corps' bus pool to assist them. These and 
other measures only partially met the situ- 
ation since the Army had no means of off- 
setting the segregation laws or of counter- 
acting sectional attitudes. 77 

The railroads were committed to pro- 
viding special sleepers whenever a group 

15 AR 55-105, 29 Dec 42, par. 8«; Changes 12, 2 
May 44; Changes 14, 15 Dec 44. Documents relating 
to Army efforts before and during the war to change 
the "lowest first-class rate" rule are in AG 500 
(6-2-37)(l) and AG 510 (1 Dec 42). See also OCT HB 
Monograph 20, pp. 46-48. 

7B Problems connected with transportation of Negro 
troops are dealt with in Maj. Ulysses G. Lee, Jr., The 
Employment of Negro Troops in World War II, a 
volume in preparation for this series. 

77 An indication of the relation of the Transporta- 
tion Corps to this subject is given in the following: Ltr, 
Gross to Joseph B. Eastman, ODT, 23 Nov 42, OCT 
HB Gross Day File; Memo, Finlay for Gross, 13 Aug 
42, sub: "Jim Crow" Laws; Memo, Gross for ASW, 19 
Jul 43, sub: Trans Facilities for Negroes; Ltr, Gross to 
Pelley, Pres AAR, 19 Jul 43, and reply, 21 Jul 43; last 
four in OCT 531.7 Discrimination; Memo, Maj Gen 
George Grunert for Somervell, 19 Jul 43; Ltr, CofT 
for CG 4th SvC, 30 Jul 43 (and similar ltrs to other 
SvCs); last two in OCT 510 Negro; Memo, Maj Gen 
Wilhelm D. Styer for CofT, 13 Apr 44, sub: Trans 
Facilities for Negro Troops, and related correspond- 
ence, OCT 511. 



of fifteen or more soldiers was to be 
moved. As a measure of economy in the 
use of transportation the Army endeav- 
ored to ask for special cars only when all 
berths could be filled. The Chief of Trans- 
portation preferred movements in special 
cars to movements in cars that were avail- 
able to the public and encouraged post 
transportation officers to combine small 
groups whenever possible so that special 
cars would be justified. Similarly, move- 
ments by special trains were preferred to 
movements by special cars attached to 
regular trains. When special troop cars 
were added to regular trains the public 
facilities were likely to be overcrowded, 
especially the dining cars, and this situ- 
ation was a source of dissatisfaction and 
disorder. Also, the assignment of admin- 
istrative and medical staffs to special troop 
trains and the use of troop kitchen cars 
simplified the problems of control and 
discipline. Special trains, moreover, could 
be routed from Army post to Army post, 
whereas when troops were moved by reg- 
ular trains the Army was obliged either to 
furnish motor transportation to and from 
the railway terminals or to pay switching 
charges for the transfer of special cars be- 
tween Army posts and railway terminals. 76 

Procedures within the War Department 
for the accomplishment of troop move- 
ments involved a number of agencies. The 
authority to initiate movement orders was 
different for different types of moves. 
Domestic movements necessitated by per- 
manent changes of station might be 
ordered by the Operations Division of the 
War Department General Staff or by the 
commanding generals of the Army 
Ground Forces, the Army Air Forces, or 
the Army Service Forces for troops of their 
respective commands. Domestic move- 

ments called for by temporary changes of 
station might be ordered by OPD, by the 
commanding generals of the AGF, the 
AAF, the ASF, and the defense com- 
mands, or by subordinate elements of 
those commands acting within policies 
established by the respective commanders. 
Orders for movements to ports of em- 
barkation for shipment overseas always 
originated in OPD, which acted in ac- 
cordance with strategic decisions of the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff and in collaboration 
with the AGF, the AAF, and the ASF. The 
Mobilization Division of ASF headquar- 
ters, in addition to preparing movement 
orders for ASF troops, prepared the sup- 
ply and transportation sections of move- 
ment orders relating to AGF and AAF 
troops. The Mobilization Division also 
acted as a co-ordinating agency between 
OPD, the commanders of the forces, and 
the Chief of Transportation with regard to 
the actual movement of troops and their 
equipment. 79 The Chief of Transportation, 
however, maintained direct contact with 
all these agencies from the earliest stages 
of their planning in order to advise them 
on transportation matters and to obtain 
information on impending movements as 
far in advance as possible. 

The transportation officers at Army 
posts where troop movements originated 
had an exacting role, and the Chief of 
Transportation saw to it that they were 
fully instructed. 80 They obtained routings 

78 AR 55-125, 9 Jan 43, sub: Sleeping Car and 
Similar Accommodations, par, 2a(2); Interv with 
Morris, 4 Aug 50, OCT HB Traf Contl Div Pass. 

"WD Cir 102, 15 Apr 43, par. 1; WD Cir 358, 4 
Sep 44, Sec. IV; ASF Manual M 301, 31 Jan 44, Sec. 
201.04 Mob Div. 

s " For appointments and duties of local transporta- 
tion officers, see AR 55-105, 29 Dec 42, par. 3, and 
Changes 13, 22 May 44, and 14, 15 Dec 44; AR 55-5, 
5 Oct 42, par. 5; WD Cir 229, 24 Sep 43, par. 6. 



and ordered transportation equipment for 
individuals and small groups traveling 
from their posts, and they administered 
the arrangements made by the Chief of 
Transportation for the movement of larger 
groups, thus working closely with local 
railway officials and bus operators. They 
collaborated with the transportation of- 
ficers of the units to be moved to insure 
that both personnel and impedimenta 
were ready for shipment and loaded ac- 
cording to plan. They were responsible for 
providing adequate tracks, ramps, and 
other transportation facilities at their sta- 
tions. In addition to the War Department 
regulations and circulars pertaining to 
passenger traffic, the Chief of Transporta- 
tion prepared a "commercial traffic bulle- 
tin," which was issued from time to time 
"by order of the Secretary of War," to 
provide detailed instructions for local 
transportation officers. 81 He also endeav- 
ored through field conferences conducted 
by his Traffic Control Division and fre- 
quent visits by representatives of his zone 
transportation offices to keep the post 
transportation officers fully informed 
regarding the detailed instructions ema- 
nating from Washington and the reasons 
for the procedures prescribed. 

The policies and procedures pertaining 
to Army passenger traffic were necessarily 
complex. Throughout the war the Chief 
of Transportation despite some opposition 
was able to maintain the key policy — that 
of centralized control over the routing and 
movements of groups of more than one 
carload. The Chief of Transportation also 
had a good measure of success in the basic 
task of obtaining a high level of perform- 
ance from the many local transportation 
officers, although lack of experience on 
the part of some of those officers and the 

fact that he had no command authority 
over them imposed handicaps. 

Mobilization and Conservation 
of Railroad Equipment 

Obtaining rail equipment promptly 
and using it in the most effective manner 
were basic problems that confronted the 
Transportation Corps throughout the war. 
Obviously these were matters in which 
thorough co-operation between the mili- 
tary authorities and the carriers was 

When troops were moved in small 
groups in regular train service or in special 
cars attached to regular trains, the rail- 
roads' task of providing the necessary 
equipment was relatively simple, but 
when large movements were to be accom- 
plished a different situation obtained. 
Large movements were made in special 
trains and the troops' organic equipment 
was usually transferred at the same time, 
so that in addition to sleeping cars and 
coaches, baggage cars, kitchen cars, and 
freight cars were required. In divisional 
movements hundreds of cars of all types 
had to be assembled at the station of 
origin, and this sometimes meant drawing 
on numerous railroads and deadheading 
the cars for considerable distances. When 
heavy troop movements suddenly became 
necessary following the attack on Pearl 
Harbor, one of the railroads' biggest prob- 
lems was that of gathering the required 
equipment at the training camps 
promptly. Many of the camps were far 
removed from railway centers where cars 

S1 The bulletin was discontinued for a period for 
economy reasons but was reinstated by WD Cir 305, 
22 Nov 43, Sec. II. WD TM 55-205, 25 Aug 44, sub: 
Trans in ZI, was primarily for the guidance of local 
transportation officers. 




usually were accumulated for commercial 
purposes. As the war progressed ways had 
to be found of solving this problem. 

The number of cars required for divi- 
sional movements varied according to the 
type of the division and the circumstances 
under which the move was made. In the 
summer of 1942 the following equipment 
was used in moving a triangular infantry 
division: 442 tourist sleepers, 48 standard 
sleepers, 89 baggage cars, 90 kitchen cars, 
1,124 flatcars, and 89 boxcars. The total 
of 1,882 cars moved in 63 trains. At about 
the same time, the equipment needed for 
moving an armored division embraced 
382 tourist sleepers, 23 standard sleepers, 
1 baggage car, 67 kitchen cars, and 1,748 
flatcars. These 2,221 cars moved in 69 
trains. 82 It is obvious even to the layman 
that the assembling of so many cars and 
the required number of locomotives, as 

well as the prompt loading and orderly 
movement of so many trains to a single 
destination, was a feat that required care- 
ful planning and meticulous execution. 

Divisional movements, although many 
of them were made during the war, were 
not an everyday occurrence. Most move- 
ments by special train involved smaller 
troop units or groups of replacements, and 
many such movements were started each 
day of the war. As already stated, during 
the spring of 1943, when organized troop 
movements were especially heavy, the 
Chief of Transportation reported that spe- 
cial troop trains were departing from their 
loading points at intervals of about six 
minutes throughout the twenty-four-hour 
day. More significant, perhaps, are the 

* 2 See author's Memo, 6 Aug 42, sub: Rail Equip 
for Moving a Division, OCT HB Traf Contl Div Pass. 



Table 3 — Railroad Cars Used by the Army in Moving Organized Groups and 
Their Impedimenta Routed by the Central Routing Authority in Washington: 
December 1941-December 1945 * 


Total Cara 

Sleepers b 






Total (49 Months) .... 

1, 173,098 

520, 903 

296, 025 

132, 996 

« 128, 650 

' 20, 966 

73, 558 


27, 452 

4, 329 



17, 439 




Total for Year 

22, 408 
34, 114 

121, 349 
10, 112 

54, 194 


50, 025 


5, 263 


Peak Monthly Total 

345, 790 
28, 815 
36, 598 

140, 498 

8, 136 


47, 454 
3, 954 


7, 295 


22, 837 

141, 385 
11, 782 


3, 134 

13, 732 
1, 144 

2, 830 

<* 22, 500 


Peak Monthly Total 

256, 910 

113, 342 

86, 585 



<= 1,261 

■» 37, 653 
3, 138 

* Up to January 1943 groups of fifty or more were routed in Washington; thereafter forty or more. Figures are estimated through 
August 1942. 

b Includes standard sleepers, tourist sleepers, and government-owned troop sleepers. 

e Flatcars were lumped with boxcars in 1945. 

d Indicates increased use of hospital cars and kitchen cars. 

Source: Data originally compiled by Traffic Control Division, OCT. from reports of Association of American Railroads, and reworked 
for a statistical volume of this series, now in preparation. 

figures given in Table 3, which indicate 
that in one month (April 1943) a total of 
36,598 passenger and freight cars were 
used by the Army in special troop trains 
or as special cars attached to regular 
trains, and that the monthly average dur- 
ing 1943 was 28,815 cars. These figures, it 
should be noted, do not comprehend troop 
movements made in regular train service 
or troops traveling on furlough, leave, or 

pass and do not include personnel of the 
other armed services. 

The amount of equipment at the 
disposal of the carriers to meet the mili- 
tary need and the heavy civilian demand 
was relatively constant throughout the 
war. Although a special effort was made 
to keep all cars in serviceable condition, 
some had to be retired, and the ordering 
of new equipment was severely limited by 



Table 4 — Passenger Train Cars Owned or Leased by the Carriers at the End of 

Each Year: 1940-1945 

Owned by Class I Railroads 

Owned or 


Total Cars 


Passenger » 

Baggage, Ei- 
press, and 


by Pullman 

1940 .. . 

44, 727 

37, 817 

22, 594 

13, 394 

1, 829 


1941 , 

44, 956 

37, 897 

22, 576 

13, 524 


7, 059 

1942 . . 

45, 185 

38, 051 

22, 681 


1, 739 


1943 . 

b 45, 764 





h 7, 824 


b 46, 588 

37, 837 

22, 523 

13, 582 

1, 732 

>> 8, 751 

1945 . 

b 46, 863 

38, 273 

22, 681 

13, 891 

1, 701 

>>8, 590 

* Includes coaches, combination coaches, parlor, sleeping, dining, club, lounge, and observation cars. 

b Includes government-owned special troop sleepers and kitchen cars, as well as standard and tourist sleepers and parlor cars. 

Source: Association of American Railroads, Railroad Transport, A Statistical Record, 1911-194$ (Washington, November 1948), p. 21. 

the demand that the military program 
made on steel and other strategic mate- 
rials. Under these circumstances the in- 
crease in the total number of passenger 
cars, including those built for the govern- 
ment, was modest indeed. (Table 4 ) Steps 
were taken to eliminate some of the less 
essential travel. The carriers themselves 
combined or "pooled" certain of their 
services to resort areas in order to release 
equipment for other purposes. They con- 
verted more than 800 lounge and parlor 
cars into the more necessary sleepers and 
coaches. The Office of Defense Transpor- 
tation stopped the operation of special 
trains for conventions and sporting events 
and limited the operation of extra trains 
and extra sections on the heavily traveled 
routes. 83 A campaign was undertaken to 
encourage the voluntary curtailment of 
unnecessary travel. Despite these measures 
the increase in traffic far outstripped the 
increase in passenger accommodations, 
and the wartime demand was met chiefly 
through a concerted effort for the more 
efficient and intensive employment of the 
equipment on hand. 

Responsibility for assigning adequate 
railway equipment to troop movements 
and for enforcing economy in its use rested 
primarily with two agencies representing 
the Army and the railroads respectively. 
The Army's interests were the responsibil- 
ity of the Traffic Control Division in the 
Office of the Chief of Transportation, and 
more particularly the Passenger Branch of 
that division. While the chief of the divi- 
sion and his deputy dealt with matters of 
policy and participated in conferences re- 
lating to especially large movements, the 
Passenger Branch handled the day-to-day 
arrangements. It maintained contact with 
the carriers, gave them information re- 
garding contemplated troop movements 
and the numbers and types of cars re- 
quired, and checked to insure that the 
proper equipment was promptly provided. 
It dealt with local Army transportation 
officers to insure that arrangements were 
made for the prompt entrainment and 
detrainment of troops and that the cars 

83 For a summary of these controls, see Office of De- 
fense Transportation, Civilian War Transport (Wash- 
ington, 1948), pp. 81-86. 



were fully loaded and eventually turned 
back to the railroads in good condition. In 
the fall of 1942 the Car Service Section 
was established in the Passenger Branch to 
review all prospective troop movements 
and prepare co-ordinated plans that would 
avoid deadheading equipment so far as 
possible. The staff of this section consisted 
of specialists who had been employed by 
the Pullman Company or the railroads. 8 ^ 
The Military Transportation Section, 
Car Service Division, Association of Amer- 
ican Railroads, represented the rail car- 
riers in these matters. All requests for 
equipment and train schedules, as well as 
complaints regarding the railroads' han- 
dling of movements, were channeled 
through it. The fact that the MTS office 
was located adjacent to the Traffic Control 
Division in the Pentagon facilitated the 
constant interchange of information and 
the joint planning in which the two agen- 
cies engaged. While the MTS dealt di- 
rectly with the individual railroads to a 
large extent, it was aided in the perform- 
ance of its functions by thirteen district 
offices of the Car Service Division whose 
jurisdictions covered the entire United 

Although the Military Transportation 
Section had no direct authority over the 
employment of the carriers' passenger 
equipment, the railroads followed its in- 
structions because those instructions were 
based on military requirements. For the 
same reason the Pullman Company en- 
deavored to provide the cars requested by 
the MTS. This voluntary co-operation 
worked satisfactorily until the redeploy- 
ment of troops began after the surrender 
of Germany. Then, because it was evident 
that much heavier demands would have 
to be made on the carriers in order to sat- 
isfy the military need, the Office of Defense 

Transportation assumed control over the 
employment of all passenger, baggage, 
and express cars of the railroads. W. C. 
Kendall, chairman of the AAR Car Serv- 
ice Division, was appointed agent to ad- 
minister this control, subject to the general 
supervision of the Director of the ODT 
Railway Transport Department. 85 

The co-operation of the Pullman 
Company in supplying equipment re- 
mained on a voluntary basis. Control 
over the distribution of its equipment was 
exercised by a superintendent of car serv- 
ice at the company's headquarters in Chi- 
cago. He was aided by branch offices 
scattered throughout the country, which 
kept him informed of the location of equip- 
ment and the prospective demand in their 
localities. The Military Transportation 
Section made daily reports to the Pullman 
Company regarding the future needs of 
the armed forces for sleeping cars in the 
various districts. On the basis of these re- 
ports, Pullman equipment was assigned to 
six regional distribution points, which 
controlled its further assignment. In July 
1945, in view of the extraordinarily heavy 
demand for sleepers on the Atlantic sea- 
board for troops being redeployed and re- 
patriated from Europe, the car service 
superintendent of the Pullman Company 
placed a representative in the office of the 
MTS to obtain information regarding 
requirements as early as possible and to 
co-ordinate the actual assignment of 

The usual procedure by which equip- 
ment was obtained for a troop movement 
was as follows : As soon as the Traffic Con- 
trol Division had definite advice that a 
group was to be moved, it obtained full 
information regarding the composition of 

8< OCT HB Monograph 22, pp. 33-36, 81-84. 
83 ODT GO 55, effective 17 Jul 45. 



the group from the Army transportation 
officer at the station of origin. This infor- 
mation included the unit designations, the 
number of officers and enlisted men in- 
volved, the weight and measurement of 
the impedimenta, the anticipated time 
and place of entrainment, and the types of 
rolling stock desired. 86 After the route had 
been established, in the manner already 
described, the Traffic Control Division re- 
quested the Military Transportation Sec- 
tion to arrange for the execution of the 
movement. The MTS notified the Car 
Service Division manager in the district in 
which the movement was to originate and 
also the originating railroad. The rail line 
then began assembling the required 
coaches, baggage cars, and freight cars 
and notified the appropriate Pullman 
Company representative of the number of 
sleepers needed. If the required number of 
sleepers was not provided, the rail line 
undertook to provide coaches instead. If 
the railroad found it difficult to obtain 
sufficient equipment to meet the need, the 
district manager of the Car Service Divi- 
sion was called on for help. If he was un- 
able to overcome the difficulty, he asked 
for aid from the MTS, which could bring 
heavier pressure to bear on the carriers 
serving the area.* 7 

A special procedure was adopted by the 
Traffic Control Division when an excep- 
tionally large port-bound movement — a 
division or an equivalent number of 
troops — was to be made. The assembling 
of so much equipment inevitably posed a 
difficult problem for the carriers, and 
strict compliance with schedules was of 
great importance. In such instances the 
Traffic Control Division sent a representa- 
tive to the station of origin, where all 
arrangements for the movement were 
worked out in conference. This conference 

was attended, as circumstances required, 
by representatives of the post transporta- 
tion officer, the commander of the port of 
destination, the G-4 of the division to be 
moved, the Military Transportation Sec- 
tion, the Car Service Division district 
office, the territorial passenger association, 
the Pullman Company, and the railroads 
involved. The conference took place soon 
after the movement order was issued, usu- 
ally several weeks in advance of the depar- 
ture date. The requirements for passenger 
and freight equipment were studied, the 
sources of the equipment were agreed on, 
the make-up and loading schedules of the 
several trains were planned, and train 
schedules from point of origin to destina- 
tion were established. These arrangements 
were considered tentative, but changes did 
not often become necessary. 88 

Despite the close co-operation of all 
parties and the measures taken by the 
Army to ease the carriers' problems, there 
were delays in furnishing equipment. 
During the greater part of the war about 
25 percent of the railroads' 14,000 line- 
haul coaches were in military service, and 
after redeployment began the percentage 
was larger. The railroads understandably 
endeavored to protect the regular services 
that the Office of Defense Transportation 
permitted them to maintain, while at the 
same time trying to meet the military re- 
quirements. The demand for coaches 
being what it was, this policy called for 
exceedingly close calculation and careful 
management, and sometimes the available 
equipment could not be made to meet all 
needs promptly. When the departure of 
movements was advanced by the Army 

86 AR 55-130, 28 Dec 42, par. 8*. 

S7 OCT HB Monograph 22, pp. 38-46. 

88 Ibid., pp. 48-50. 



Chart 2 — Revenue Passenger-Miles Accomplished in Pullman-Operated Sleeping 

Cars and Parlor Cars: 1939-1945* 

1939** 1940** (941 (942 1943 1944 1943 

* Military traffic includes the personnel of all armed forces moved in organized groups in special cars and special 
trains, regular traffic includes civilian and military personnel who traveled in regularly scheduled ttains. Includes traffic 
hauled in government-owned, Pullman-operated troop sleepers. 

** Distribution between regular and troop traffic not ovailable for 1939 and 1940. 

Source: Annual Reports, Pullman, Incorporated. 

ahead of the time originally contemplated, members of the armed forces in organized 
the problem was intensified. groups. 89 Yet in each year the passenger - 
The Pullman Company frequently miles accomplished in regular Pullman 
failed to supply the sleepers required by services (sleeping car and parlor car) ex- 
the Army. Beginning early in the war all ceeded the mileage accomplished in han- 
of its tourist sleepers — about 2,200 in dling organized movements for the armed 
number — were regularly assigned to move- forces. (Chart 2) Like the railroads, the 
ments of the armed forces, and a varying Pullman Company endeavored to protect 
number of its 4,000 standard sleepers were its regular services while complying with 
so utilized. Late in 1943 the new govern- requests from the military authorities, 
ment-owned troop sleepers began to enter It was understood that if the Pullman 
its fleet. At the end of 1944 the Pullman Company could not supply sleepers as re- 
Company indicated that about half of its quested, the railroads and the Traffic Con- 
sleeping car equipment had been steadily trol Division would be notified not later 
engaged in troop transportation. A few 

days before Germany surrendered, the 89 Annual Rpts Pullman incorporated, 1944.P.5; 

' . itt i * 1945, p. 6; AAR, Interesting Facts About the Rail- 

Company stated that since Pearl Harbor it roads> 3 May 45 . all in Q CT HB Topic Pullman 

had transported more than 26,000,000 Company. 



than 5:00 P. M. on the second day before 
the contemplated departure. In such a 
case, the originating railroad undertook, 
with the aid of the Association of Ameri- 
can Railroads when necessary, to provide 
coaches in substitution for sleepers. If it 
was found that coaches could not be 
made available, such information was to 
be given to the Traffic Control Division 
not later than noon of the day preceding 
the movement. In this event, the division 
in consultation with the military authority 
that had ordered the movement deter- 
mined whether that movement should be 
postponed or the equipment obtained by 
deferring another movement of lower pri- 
ority. 90 The Traffic Control Division im- 
pressed upon the carriers, however, that it 
would not be satisfied simply with notifi- 
cation that sleepers or coaches were not 
available. It took the position that, while 
postponements might become necessary, 
there should be relatively few and that the 
carriers should make extraordinary efforts 
to avoid this necessity. 

No purpose would be served by pre- 
senting in detail the many complaints 
registered by the Chief of Transportation 
because sleepers or coaches were not sup- 
plied as requested or by reviewing the 
explanations offered by the carriers. Gen- 
eral Gross and his staff sometimes felt that 
the carriers had been negligent, either in 
not providing equipment or in not giving 
sufficient advance notice that requests for 
cars could not be met. In most cases the 
carriers believed that there were justifying 
circumstances . 9 1 

While pressing the carriers to meet its 
requests for equipment fully and promptly, 
the Army undertook to improve its own 
procedures and so alleviate the shortage of 
cars. One of the problems during the early 

part of the war was the short notice given 
the Chief of Transportation by the com- 
mands ordering troop movements and the 
consequent short time allowed the carriers 
to assemble cars. An inquiry covering a 
period of ninety days showed that in about 
56 percent of the cases the notice was less 
than forty-eight hours ahead of actual 
starting time. 92 Beginning early in 1943 
corrective measures were taken, under 
which the Chief of Transportation was in- 
formed regarding prospective movements 
as soon as the plans began to take definite 
shape and was notified of actually ordered 
movements at least seventy-two hours in 
advance in all except emergency cases. 93 
Through frequent contacts with the 
agencies that issued troop movement 
orders, the Passenger Branch was able to 
gather information that enabled it to visu- 
alize the requirements for railroad equip- 
ment far ahead. When sizable move- 
ments — regiments or larger — were being 
planned, the branch was given an oppor- 
tunity to look over the equipment situation 
and the progress of movements already 
scheduled, and then to indicate to the 

9U See WD CTB 35, 10 Jul 45, sub: Troop Mvmts— 
RR Equip. 

5,1 The following documents illustrate the com- 
plaints filed by the Chief of Transportation: Ltr, 
Morris to Gass, 7 Dec 43, OCT 5 1 1 Main 64884; Ltr, 
Morris to Gass, 19 Feb 44, OCT 511; Ltr, Morris to 
Gass, 27 Apr 44, OCT 511 Rail and Motor Mvmts; 
Ltr, Morris to Trunk Line-Central Pass Assn, 30 Aug 
44, OCT 51 1 Fort Meade (Main 20363); Ltr, Morris 
to Western Mil Bur, 30 Sep 44, OCT 511; Ltr, Lt. Col 
Bert E. White to Pullman Co., 27 Feb 45, OCT 531.7 
Train Service. 

ai Army Service Forces Monthly Progress Report 
(hereafter cited as ASF MPR), May 43, p. 60. Such 
short notice was more likely to occur with the smaller 
than with the larger units. 

a3 Memo, CG SOS for CGs All SvCs, COs All Posts, 
et a!., 8 Dec 42, sub: Co-ordination of Troop Mvmts, 
AG 370.5 (1 1-24-42); WD Cir 102, 15 Apr 43, par. 
26(4); WD Cir 358, 4 Sep 44, Sec. IV, par. 26(1); 
OCT HB Monograph 22, pp. 71-81. 



commands concerned on what dates addi- 
tional movements could be best handled. 
As soon as such movements were tenta- 
tively fixed, they were posted on a control 
board in the Passenger Branch from which 
the branch worked in its endeavor to 
avoid scheduling too much traffic from a 
particular area during a particular period. 
This board sometimes showed divisional 
movements six months in advance of their 
departure. 94 

Another important Army measure 
affecting the employment of rail equip- 
ment was the investing of the Chief of 
Transportation with authority to change 
the departure time of troop movements 
when the equipment situation warranted. 
Such authority was given his office in 
April 1943 for movements routed in Wash- 
ington — that is, groups of forty or more — 
and the same authority was soon given to 
post transportation officers in regard to 
the smaller groups that they routed. 95 
Emergency movements naturally were 
excepted from these arrangements. Under 
this procedure the orders covering non- 
emergency movements gave approximate 
dates of departure or dates between which 
the movements should be made, and the 
Chief of Transportation or the post trans- 
portation officers could advance or retard 
the time of departure within the limits 
stated. Thus a movement destined for a 
particular installation could be put for- 
ward or delayed so that the same equip- 
ment could be used for a movement leaving 
the same or a nearby installation. The 
ability to adjust the time of departure also 
facilitated the consolidation of small 
groups to insure the full utilization of car 

The advance information received by 
the Chief of Transportation regarding con- 
templated movements and his authority 

to advance or retard the actual time of 
departure brought very substantial results 
in the conservation of railway equipment. 
The most spectacular example was the 
utilization of the same railway equipment 
to move seven divisions from seven differ- 
ent installations with only a small amount 
of deadhead mileage. The Car Service 
Section of the Passenger Branch, on the 
basis of its day-to-day planning to improve 
the utilization of passenger cars, calcu- 
lated that between the time of its estab- 
lishment in November 1942 and the end 
of hostilities it enabled 41,000 sleeping 
cars to make trips that otherwise could 
not have been made. This meant addi- 
tional berths for at least 1,400,000 
soldiers. 9 " 

The Army also undertook to eliminate 
practices at camps and other installations 
that were wasteful of car time. Before the 
United States entered the war, post trans- 
portation officers frequently called in rail- 
road equipment as soon as a unit received 
warning of an impending move. This gave 
the carriers opportunity to draw equip- 
ment from sources where it could be most 
readily spared and also enabled the post 
transportation officer and the commander 
of troops to inspect the cars thoroughly 
and to entrain at their convenience. Dur- 
ing the war this leisurely method of using 
equipment could not be permitted. Soon 
after Pearl Harbor all agencies issuing 
warning orders were directed to include in 
such orders a stipulation that delivery of 

Interv with Morris, 16 Aug 50, OCT HB Traf 
Contl Div Pass. 

B5 Memo, CofT for ACofS for Opns ASF, 19 Mar 
43, sub: Change in WD Cir 193; Memo, C of Traf 
Contl Div for C of Adm Div OCT, 29 Jul 43 ; both in 
OCT 51 1; WD Cir 102, 15 Apr 43, par. 2b; WD Cir 
229, 24 Sep 43, pars. 1 and 2. 

96 Morris monograph, cited above, p. 40; Interv 
with Morris, 16 Aug 50, OCT HB Traf Contl Div 



railroad cars would not be requested until 
the actual time for departure had been 
fixed. 97 Cancellations of movement orders 
or deferments of movements shortly before 
departure time also were wasteful of 
equipment, since the assigned cars were 
kept idle until they could be reassigned. 
The Chief of Transportation undertook to 
impress upon military authorities the ne- 
cessity of avoiding last-minute changes in 
movement orders so far as possible." 8 

In its efforts to improve the utilization 
of railway equipment and bring about 
closer co-ordination in handling military 
movements, the Traffic Control Division 
supplemented the written instructions to 
the field with regional conferences. Fol- 
lowing the inauguration of new procedures 
for troop movements in the spring of 1943, 
Colonel Morris, as chief of the Passenger 
Branch, held a series of conferences 
throughout the country, which were at- 
tended by the transportation officers of 
Army installations and representatives of 
the Association of American Railroads, 
the territorial passenger associations, and 
the individual rail lines. Regional confer- 
ences held in the headquarters cities of the 
nine service commands and at San Fran- 
cisco in February and March 1944 were 
attended by Colonels Williamson and 
Lasher, chief and deputy chief of the 
Traffic Control Division, and by the heads 
of their traffic branches. Army transporta- 
tion officers and railroad representatives 
were informed explicitly concerning the 
performance that was expected in the ac- 
complishment of troops movements. They 
were given full opportunity to ask ques- 
tions, make complaints, or otherwise pre- 
sent their problems. Similar "field forums" 
were held at later dates. The consensus 
was that excellent results were achieved in 
this way — results affecting not only troop 
movements but other aspects of the Traffic 

Control Division's work as well." 

Although the efficient employment of 
passenger cars was the chief problem, 
attention also had to be given to the eco- 
nomical use of freight cars in moving troop 
impedimenta. This was true particularly 
of flatcars, which were required for many 
large items, such as trucks, tanks, and 
artillery. Early in the war the Chief of 
Transportation put forward the idea that 
a considerable saving of freight cars could 
be accomplished by permanently assign- 
ing heavy organic equipment to training 
centers instead of moving this equipment 
each time a unit was moved. The system 
was tried first with motor vehicles and 
later with other equipment. It not only 
saved railway cars but also spared the 
government heavy freight costs. In April 
1943, Lt. Gen. Lesley J. McNair, com- 
manding the Army Ground Forces, re- 
ported that, in moving four armored di- 
visions, two motorized divisions, and one 
infantry division, the new system had re- 
duced the requirement for rail equipment 
by 8,743 cars and had saved the govern- 
ment more than $2,500,000 in transporta- 
tion charges. He also reported substantial 
savings in the movement of smaller 
units. 100 

At some Army training camps the 
inadequacy of rail facilities on the reserva- 
tions and the limited capacity of the con- 
necting rail lines hindered dispatch of 

Memo, AGofS G-4 for AGofS G-3, 9 Jan 42, sub: 
Ordering RR Equip, G-4/33739-5. 

as Memo, CofT for TAG, 23 May 44, sub: Mvmt of 
Units, OCT 5 1 1 Rail and Motor Mvmts. 

"Memo, CofT for CG AAF, 15 Jun 43; Memo, 
Williamson for CofT, 16 Jun 43, sub: Confs at SvC 
Hq; both in OCT 511; ASF Cir 167, 29 Dec 43, sub: 
Conf, Mvmt of Troops, Etc; Rpt, Traf Contl Conf, 3 
Feb-6 Mar 44, OCT HB Traf Contl Div Misc; Rpt, 
Traf Contl Div, FY 1944, pp. 4-5, OCT HB Traf 
Contl Div Rpts. 

100 Ltr, Gen McNair to CG ASF, 6 Apr 43, sub: 
Saving Rail Trans, OCT 51 1 Co-ordination 

(From left) Col. Edmund C. R. Lasher, Col. William J. Williamson, and Col. I. Sewell 
Morris of the Traffic Control Division, with Arthur H. Gass of the Association of American 

passenger and freight cars and caused a 
loss of car time. This was often true of new 
installations that were built early in the 
emergency without due regard to trans- 
portation requirements. 101 The situation 
at the California-Arizona Maneuver Area, 
located in a remote region on branch rail 
lines, was an outstanding example of the 
difficulty, and at one time the accumula- 
tion of cars became so heavy that a four- 
day stop order was placed on further 
shipments into the area. Soon after the 
United States entered the war a general 
survey of Army installations was made to 
determine whether additional trackage, 

loading ramps, or other facilities were 
necessary to insure prompt dispatch of 
railway cars, and later similar action was 
taken whenever the movement of traffic 
at an installation was found to be 
sluggish. 102 

The combined efforts of the Transpor- 
tation Corps and the carriers to utilize 

101 Wardlow, op. cit. , \ pp. 3 1 6— 1 7~] Morris mono- 
graph, p. 49. 

10J Memo, ACofS G-4 for CoFE and OQMG, 1 7 Jan 
42, sub: Rail Facilities, G-4/33821; Memo, CG SOS 
for CofT, 31 Aug 42, sub: Rail Facilities for Emer- 
gency Mvmts; Memo, G of Rail Div OCT for CofT, 
8 Oct 42; last two in OCT 531.7 Gen. 



railway passenger equipment with utmost 
effectiveness met with a large measure of 
success. Yet there were occasions when the 
numbers of cars or the desired types were 
not provided as requested by the Army. 
While late requests sometimes were re- 
sponsible, failures were attributable 
chiefly to the endeavor of the carriers — 
the railroads and the Pullman Com- 
pany — to maintain their regular services 
as fully as possible while also meeting the 
demands of the armed forces. No urgent 
troop movements were postponed for lack 
of equipment, but the Chief of Transpor- 
tation protested any delay that in his 
judgment could have been avoided. He 
also protested the failure to provide sleep- 
ing cars and the consequent transporta- 
tion of troops in day coaches on long trips, 
and he felt that both the Pullman Com- 
pany and the Office of Defense Transpor- 
tation were at fault in not withdrawing 
more sleepers from regular services. The 
situation became especially acute after re- 
deployment began, even though much 
larger numbers of both sleepers and 
coaches were placed in military service. 103 

Special Troop Trains 

The troop train was not merely a mode 
of transportation, it was an institution. 
Extensive planning preceded its depar- 
ture, and thorough organization and care- 
ful control were necessary throughout. Its 
punctual departure and arrival were mat- 
ters on which the Chief of Transportation 
placed great stress. Each train was given 
a "main" number, or symbol, and until it 
had delivered its load at the destination it 
was as much a military entity as the in- 
stallation from which it started. This was 
true whether the train carried troops only 
or was a mixed train of troops and imped- 

imenta. Special troop cars attached to 
regular passenger trains also received 
main numbers and were closely con- 
trolled, but for obvious reasons the control 
could not be as broad as in the case of the 
special troop train moving on its own 

The war brought changes in the size 
and make-up of troop trains. While maxi- 
mum length was desirable from the stand- 
point of conserving locomotives and train 
crews, it was necessary to avoid making 
trains so long that they created operating 
problems and delays. Early in the emer- 
gency the Army rescinded a regulation 
limiting mixed trains to twenty-five cars, 
and took the position that when it became 
necessary from a military standpoint to 
disregard certain state laws limiting the 
length of trains this should be done. 104 
The Army authorized the railroads to 
consolidate trains en route provided no 
delay or compromise of military security 
was involved. It also authorized the rail- 
roads to operate long trains from points of 
origin and to split them en route, on the 
condition that the military authorities 
were informed in advance so that when 
the trains were cut each section would be 
self-sustaining. 105 The arrangement of 
cars in a train was determined finally by 
railroad officials, but the desires of the 
military authorities were complied with 
as far as possible. 106 

"» See below | Ch. III. | 

WD Cir 130, 5 Nov 40, Sec. II; Wardlow, op. 
cil. jp. JfW] A typical troop train consisted of 12 to 15 
coaches or sleepers, 2 baggage cars, and 2 kitchen 
cars. A typical mixed train consisted of 6 to 8 coaches 
or sleepers, 1 or 2 baggage cars, 1 kitchen car, and 25 
to 30 freight cars. 

1115 Memo, Morris for MTS, 16 Sep 42, sub: Con- 
solidations; Ltr, Morris to IMC, 15 Jan 44; both in 
OCT 511. 

,i)8 OCT HB Monograph 22, pp. 90-94. 



The Army imposed various safety re- 
quirements with respect to troop trains. 
In view of the shortage of equipment it 
was not feasible to insist on all-steel cars, 
so that cars with wooden bodies on steel 
frames were accepted, but all cars were 
required to be in good operating condi- 
tion, with secure platforms and steps. 
Passageways between cars were to be 
guarded by diaphragms or safety chains. 
The Chief of Transportation accepted 
chains only as a temporary expedient and 
urged the installation of diaphragms as 
promptly as possible. Troop train com- 
manders were directed to issue orders be- 
fore departure forbidding troops to ride 
on platforms or on the tops of cars, to 
move from car to car unnecessarily, or to 
leave the train without specific authority. 
The commanders were also instructed to 
take whatever additional steps might be 
essential to safety. 

A peacetime prohibition against the 
shipment of explosives in the same train 
with troops had to be lifted during the 
war, but any such shipments were subject 
to strict regulation. Explosives, excluding 
small arms ammunition, in addition to 
being handled in accordance with the 
safety regulations of the Interstate Com- 
merce Commission, were placed in cars at 
the rear of the trains and were separated 
fronl troops by at least one "buffer" car. 107 
Cars bearing explosives were sealed and 
were under guard at all train stops. 

As soon as rail equipment was deliv- 
ered to an installation from which troops 
were to be moved, it was inspected by the 
post transportation officer, the troop train 
commander, and a representative of the 
originating railroad. 108 The inspections 
dealt with the structural condition of the 
cars and with their cleanliness. The in- 
tensity with which the cars were used and 

the shortage of labor in railroad shops and 
yards made careful inspection necessary. 
No record has been found of the number 
of cars rejected after inspection, but it is 
obvious that with equipment scarce and 
with every effort being made to avoid de- 
lays a considerable tolerance had to be 
exercised. Thus it was that during the 
demobilization period, when the shortage 
of equipment was being most severely felt, 
the commander of the San Francisco Port 
of Embarkation authorized certain offi- 
cers of his organization to reject cars that 
they considered unfit, but at the same 
time he cautioned them that in so doing 
they should consider not only the types 
and condition of the cars and the length 
of the journey but also the backlog of 
troops waiting to be moved out of the port 
and the scheduled arrival of additional 
troops from overseas. 109 

At the end of a trip troop train equip- 
ment was again inspected by the troop 
train commander and by representatives 
of the railroad and the Pullman Com- 
pany. This inspection had the dual pur- 
pose of determining how satisfactory the 
service rendered by the carriers had been 
and whether the carriers had a claim 
against the government because of dam- 
age inflicted on their property by the 
troops. 110 

The Chief of Transportation was espe- 
cially concerned about the condition of 

~ r " 7 2d Ind, TQMG for 8th Corps Area, 3 Feb 41, 
OCT 435 Steel Pass Equip; AR 55-145, 30 Sep 42, 
par. 14«, and Changes 1, 19 Dec 42; Memo, Pass Br 
OCT for MTS, 28 Oct 45, sub: Kitchen-Baggage 
Cars, OCT 080 AAR. 

108 AR 55-145, 30 Sep 42, par. 4. 

109 Memo, CG SFPE for COs Camp Stoneman, 
Camp Knight, et ai., 16 Nov 45, sub: Rail Equip for 
Main Trains, OCT 511. 

110 AR 55-145, 30 Sep 42, par. 14/; Ltrs, Lasher to 
Buford, 22 Jan 44 and 29 Apr 44, OCT 511 (AR 



railway cars used in moving troops to the 
ports for oversea shipment since this had a 
bearing on morale. In the spring of 1944 
he directed the commanders of the New 
York and San Francisco Ports of Embar- 
kation to appoint inspectors to examine 
all trains arriving at the staging areas 
under their control during June and to re- 
port on both the condition of the rail 
equipment and the service rendered en 
route. Such reports were to be entirely in- 
dependent of those rendered by the troop 
train commanders. Out of the 250 trains 
inspected, unsanitary conditions were 
found in twenty cases and in a few in- 
stances the supply of drinking water had 
been insufficient. On the basis of this in- 
formation, the continuance of these in- 
spections was ordered. The inspectors 
were instructed not to concern themselves 
too much with the absence of up-to-date 
facilities, although this might cause some 
inconvenience to the troops, but to deal 
chiefly with conditions that were likely to 
affect soldier morale. 111 

Since all requests for rail equipment for 
troops routed in Washington were made 
to the Military Transportation Section, all 
complaints by the Army regarding such 
equipment were channeled through that 
office, with copies to the respective terri- 
torial passenger associations, and to the 
Pullman Company when its equipment 
was involved. 112 Such complaints were 
usually based on reports by the train com- 
mander or the staging area inspector, but 
they sometimes originated with the troops 
themselves. Each complaint was inves- 
tigated by the carriers concerned, who re- 
ported the circumstances through the 
MTS to the Chief of Transportation. As 
has been indicated, there was not much 
that could be done to avoid the employ- 
ment of old or badly used cars. In his re- 

sponse to one complaint the manager of 
the MTS stated: "I am convinced that the 
best available equipment was furnished 
for this main, but it is obvious that the 
best was none too good." 113 The Chief 
of Transportation understood the situ- 
ation, but he filed his protests nevertheless 
to insure that the carriers did not let down 
in their efforts to provide the best cars 
available. Complaints regarding poor 
service — lack of cleanliness, water, or 
heat, for example — were in a different 
category. The Chief of Transportation felt 
that these were conditions that could and 
should be avoided. " 4 

While pressing the carriers to fulfill 
their responsibilities, the Chief of Trans- 
portation recognized that the military 
authorities on trains often were lax in en- 
forcing sanitation regulations. As late as 
the summer of 1944 following a discussion 
of the situation with his field representa- 
tives, General Gross reported to General 
Somervell: "This condition is not only a 
discredit to the Army, but also reflects on 
the railroad companies." 115 He recom- 
mended that renewed and emphatic in- 
structions be issued to all branches of the 
service, and this was done promptly. Train 
commanders were directed to give special 

111 OCT HB Monograph 22, pp. 99-100; ASF 
MPR,Jun 44, Sec. 3, p. 56. 

112 Memo, DC of Traf Contl Div for C of Pass Br, 
28 Nov 44, sub: Complaints, OCT 531.7. 

113 Ltr, Gassto C of Traf Contl Div, 6 Jan 44, sub: 
Main 56123, OCT 080 AAR. 

114 The following documents illustrate complaints: 
Ltr, Lasher to Western Mil Bur, 24 Mar 44, and 
reply, 29 Mar 44; Ltr, Morris to IMC, 13 Jul 44, and 
reply, 22 Sep 44; Ltr, AAR to Lasher, 25 Sep 44, and 
reply, 6 Oct 44; all in OCT 531.7 Unsanitary Condi- 
tions on Trains. 

115 Min of Port and Zone Comdrs Conf, Chicago, 
6-9 Jul 44, Mtg of Port and Zone Trans Offs, 7 Jul 44, 
pp. 4, 5, OCT HB PE Gen Port Comdrs Conf; Memo, 
Gross for Somervell, 13 Jul 44, sub: Unsanitary RR 
Equip, OCT 531.7 Unsanitary Conditions on Trains; 
WD Cir 334, 16 Aug 44, Sec. III. 



attention to the matter and to enlist the 
co-operation of all personnel under their 
control. Despite these efforts, however, 
maintaining sanitary conditions on troop 
trains remained a constant and annoying 
problem. The psychology of the troops, 
manpower shortages on the railroads, and 
the intensity with which the cars were 
used were the principal contributing 

The loading of a troop train was an op- 
eration for which the post transportation 
officer and the commander of troops 
shared responsibility. The post transpor- 
tation officer, having established the rail 
equipment required for the move, checked 
to see that the equipment actually pro- 
vided conformed to the requirements, 
prepared transportation requests upon the 
carriers covering the troops and bills of 
lading for the freight, and endeavored to 
adjust any differences that arose between 
the commander of troops and the repre- 
sentatives of the railroads. The com- 
mander of troops appointed an entrain- 
ment officer, who planned the loading and 
supervised the operation to insure that it 
was accomplished promptly and correctly. 
The entrainments at training camps dur- 
ing the weeks immediately following Pearl 
Harbor revealed a lack of familiarity on 
the part of transportation and entrain- 
ment officers with the problems involved, 
and this led to mistakes and delays. Units 
of the field forces in the zone of interior 
were therefore directed to prepare loading 
plans and have them ready at all times 
and to hold practice entrainments for 
both personnel and impedimenta. 1 Ifl 

A train commander, who was usually 
assigned by the commander of the unit 
being moved, was in charge of each troop 
train. 117 His command began with the 

departure of the train and ended with the 
delivery of the troops and their impedi- 
menta to the commander of the new sta- 
tion. Broadly stated, the train command- 
er's mission was to insure that the person- 
nel and property placed in his charge 
were moved safely and in an orderly 
manner. As commander of the troops on 
the train he was responsible for their dis- 
cipline and for the maintenance of sani- 
tary conditions en route. He controlled 
the relationship between the military per- 
sonnel and the representatives of the rail- 
road and the Pullman Company on 
board. Sometimes he was outranked by 
other officers on the train, in which case 
tact was necessary in asserting his author- 
ity. The troop train commander had 
under his supervision a train transporta- 
tion officer, who handled the passenger 
requests and bills of lading and prepared 
such other papers and reports as were 
necessary; a train medical officer, who 
looked after the health of the troops and 
the sanitary condition of the train; a train 
quartermaster, who was responsible for 
the kitchen cars and the adequacy of their 
equipment and supplies; a train mess 
officer, who supervised the preparation 
and serving of meals; and a baggage 
officer when needed. In addition, there 
was a car commander in each sleeper or 
coach to maintain order and discipline. 

Within this broad field the duties of the 
troop train commander were varied and 
exacting. In most instances an officer 
served in this capacity only once and 
hence took up his responsibilities without 

1,6 Memo, Lasher for C of Trans Div OQMG, 14 
Dec 41, sub: Troop Mvmts from Fort Bliss, 
G-4/33 700; Memo, TAG for GGs All Armies, et al., 
19 Dec 41, sub: Troop Mvmts (Rail); Memo, TAG 
for CG Field Forces, 24 Dec 41, sub: Troop Mvmts by 
Rail; last two in AG 370.5 (9- 1 0-41), Sec. 1. 

117 AR 55-145, 30 Sep 42, par. 14. 



previous experience. Usually the time 
available for studying the regulations and 
preparing for the task was short. The reg- 
ulations were scattered and were inad- 
equate in some respects. Under these cir- 
cumstances and because of the pressure 
under which the carriers were working, 
conditions aboard troop trains often fell 
short of the standards that the Chief of 
Transportation desired. Some improve- 
ment was achieved by assembling the 
regulations and instructions in two pam- 
phlets, making them more accessible and 
understandable. 118 During redeployment 
and repatriation it was possible to appoint 
commanders to serve regularly on troop 
trains operating between the ports of de- 
barkation and the reception stations, and 
these officers gained competence through 

The feeding of troops from converted 
baggage cars and from the new govern- 
ment-owned kitchen cars presented nu- 
merous problems. The baggage-kitchen 
cars were makeshifts, and aside from the 
fact that the railroads could not spare 
enough of them to meet the Army's need, 
they were difficult to keep in sanitary con- 
dition and lacked adequate refrigeration. 
Consequently, when it was decided to 
build government-owned troop sleepers in 
the spring of 1943, the advisability of con- 
structing specially designed troop kitchen 
cars at the same time was apparent. Four 
hundred such cars were ordered by the 
Defense Plant Corporation at that time 
and four hundred were ordered two years 
later. These kitchen cars, although simply 
designed and faulty in some respects, were 
a great improvement over the baggage- 
kitchen cars because the kitchen equip- 
ment was more nearly complete and more 
suitable as well as permanently installed. 119 

Even with better equipment, the problem 
of keeping kitchen cars clean remained. 
The crews, which were newly assigned for 
each trip, were often careless in using the 
facilities and disposing of waste, and, un- 
less very closely supervised, tended to shirk 
the work of putting the cars in order 
before releasing them to other movements. 
Sometimes the cars had to be released so 
quickly that there was not time for proper 
cleaning. 1 - 

In the early part of the war troops fed 
from kitchen cars were given the regular 
garrison ration, but later they were pro- 
vided with a special troop train ration 
better adapted to their inactive life while 
traveling. Since the supplies placed in kit- 
chen cars at the beginning of trips often 
proved inadequate and the railroads were 
able to provide only limited quantities, a 
chain of emergency supply points was 
established at Army installations along 
the principal routes. 121 Thereafter the 
railroads were called upon only for ice. Al- 
though the subsistence of troops was a 
function of the Quartermaster Corps, the 
Chief of Transportation took an active in- 
terest in it and in all other arrangements 
affecting the welfare of troops en route. 

118 WD Pamphlet 20-7, 14 Mar 44, and second edi- 
tion, 20 Oct 44; WD Pamphlet 20-14, 16 Apr 45. 

119 WD Memo W 30-7-42, 2 1 Oct 42, sub: Supplies 
for Kitchen Cars; OCT HB Monograph 22, pp. 
108-19; Morris monograph, pp. 54-55; Min of Port 
and Zone Comdrs Conf, Chicago, 6-9 Jul 44, after- 
noon session, 7 Jul 44, pp. 4, 5, OCT HB PE Gen 
Port Comdrs Conf. 

120 E.g., see: Memo, 3d SvC for CofT, 21 Feb 44; 
Ltr, Morris to Gass, 25 Mar 44, and reply, 29 Mar 44; 
Ltr, Pullman Co. to Morris, 29 Mar 44; Ltr, IMC to 
AAR, 2 May 44, and incl; Memo, CofT for BuPers, 
6 Jul 44; Ltr, Defense Plant Corporation to Morris, 
24 Aug 44; all in OCT 531.3 Kitchen Cars. 

121 WD Cir 31, 2 Feb 42, Sec. IV; WD Cir 219, 20 
Sep 43; WD Cir 341, 29 Dec 43; WD Cir 400, 1 1 Oct 
44; WD SB 10-63, 4 May 44; TC Pamphlet 22, 27 
Sep 44. 



Discipline on troop trains was essen- 
tially a problem of command, just as it 
was at an Army post. The responsibility 
rested with the train commander and the 
car commanders serving under him, and 
railroad personnel called upon them when 
lack of discipline threatened damage to 
railroad property or interference with 
train operation. Since the entrainment 
usually took place at an Army installa- 
tion, there was slight opportunity for the 
troops to carry liquor on the trains; every 
effort was made to prevent them from 
obtaining it en route, for it frequently 
was the cause of unruliness and insub- 
ordination. Disciplinary problems were 
intensified when troop trains were side- 
tracked for long periods while other trains 
passed through, and when troops making 
long trips in day coaches came alongside 
other passengers ensconced in the com- 
forts of Pullman cars. 122 Yet the enforce- 
ment of discipline was simpler on special 
troop trains, where there was adequate 
military authority, than on regular trains 
when individual servicemen were travel- 
ing in large numbers. 123 

A railroad escort was assigned to each 
troop train by the originating carrier in 
addition to the conductor and other mem- 
bers of the train crew and the Pullman 
conductor and porters. The escort had no 
operating duties. He was a seasoned rail- 
roader who had usually had experience 
with troop traffic and was therefore able 
to be of considerable assistance to the 
train commander. When friction arose 
between troops and railroad officials, as 
it did on numerous occasions, the escort 
might provide the word or the act to calm 
the situation. Troops were sometimes 
boisterous, dissatisfied with their accom- 
modations, careless of railroad property, 
and disrespectful of railroad authority. 

Conductors, with a regard for the inter- 
ests of their employers and sometimes with 
impatience bred of long hours of contin- 
uous service, might be short-tempered. 
There frequently was need for a diplo- 
matic but firm intermediary, and the 
escort played that role. The Chief of 
Transportation described the escorts as 
"indispensable," yet toward the end of the 
war when the manpower shortage made 
it difficult for the railroads to place such 
officials on all trains, he had no alterna- 
tive but to agree to their omission on the 
shorter daylight trips. 12 ' 

The railroads were responsible for the 
maintenance of train schedules, but the 
Chief of Transportation kept this matter 
undeT close observation. Train command- 
ers were required to telegraph the Traffic 
Control Division the time of departure, 
the time of arrival at destination, and any 
unusual delays or incidents en route. The 
railroads telegraphed similar information 
to the Military Transportation Section 
and also reported each time a troop train 
passed an interchange point — that is, 
passed from the tracks of one railroad to 
those of another. If a train fell seriously 
behind schedule, these agencies were in a 
position to act, but the initial action fre- 
quently came from the train commander. 
When a delay occurred his first step was 
to approach the train escort or the train 
conductor in an effort to correct the situ- 
ation. In the early part of the war if this 
course failed to get the desired results, the 

122 See SFPE, Summary of Problems Handled by 
Troop Train Comdrs, 8 Oct 45; NYPE, Summary of 
Troop Train Comdrs Rpts — Camp Kilmer, 12 Oct 
45; both in OC T HBTrafCo ntl Div Pass. 

121 See below, rpp~^V-yo. | 

124 Ltr, to Richard C. Morse, Vice Pres Penn RR, 
3 1 May 44, OCT 53 1 .7 PRR Sp Train Sv; OCT HB 
Monograph 22, p. 104. 





train commander communicated with the 
division superintendent of the railroad. 
This procedure did not work out satisfac- 
torily for the Army, and the train com- 
manders were directed to telegraph a 
report to the Traffic Control Division, 
which then sought the aid of the Military- 
Transportation Section in overcoming the 
delay. 1 J ' 

During the early part of the emergency 
the railroads complained that their efforts 
to maintain train schedules were some- 
times thwarted by requests of the train 
commanders for unscheduled stops to en- 
able troops to get rest or exercise. The 
carriers pointed out that most of the 
schedules requested by the Army made 
no provision for such stops, although they 
were recognized as necessary on long trips. 
An attempt to correct this situation by 
warning the officers concerned to be 
realistic in arranging schedules failed to 
overcome the difficulty. Soon after the 
United States entered the war, therefore, 
train commanders and other officers in 
the field were forbidden to approach the 
railroads regarding unscheduled stops 
and were required to direct their requests 
to The Quartermaster General, who at 
that time had general responsibility for 
the routing and delivery of troops, or to 
the Western Defense Command when 
trains were destined for points in that 
area. ' ~" After the techniques of arranging 
and executing troop movements had been 
perfected through practice, the demand 
for unscheduled stops ceased to be a prob- 

Departures from schedule attributable 
to the railroads required the attention of 
the Chief of Transportation throughout 
the war. When trains arrived at Army in- 
stallations ahead of or behind schedule, 
arrangements for the reception and ac- 

commodation of the troops were upset, 
and sometimes seriously so. Delays might 
also disturb plans for using the cars in 
other troop movements. Early arrivals 
were not common, but they occurred; late 
arrivals were more frequent. Operating 
conditions became more difficult for the 
carriers as the traffic increased without 
commensurate increases in facilities and 
personnel. Recognizing this the Chief of 
Transportation allowed the railroads some 
latitude, but he maintained a firm atti- 
tude toward what appeared to be exces- 
sive or unnecessary delays. This was par- 
ticularly true of trains destined for staging 
areas at the ports of embarkation, and 
such trains were placed under special 
controls. '- 7 

When objectionable delays occurred, 
the facts as reported to the Traffic Control 
Division were placed before the Military 
Transportation Section, which in turn ob- 
tained the railroads' side of the story. In 
some cases it was apparent that the car- 
riers concerned had not exercised suffi- 
cient care or foresight, and in such cases 
the MTS took further steps to emphasize 
the necessity of maintaining schedules. In 
other cases, the MTS believed that the 
criticisms of the Traffic Control Division 
were unduly harsh, since in the handling 
of long movements under difficult operat- 
ing conditions situations were likely to 
arise that could not be foreseen or pre- 
vented. Nevertheless, the division was 
unrelenting. It recognized that on the 
whole the railroads were giving the Army 
excellent service, but it also knew that the 
railroads were under heavy pressure with 

AR 3.1-145. 30 Sep 42. par. 14rf, and Changes 5, 
14 Mar 44: OCT HB Monograph 22, pp. 57-59. 

Lir. IMC to TQMG. 4 Apr 41, AG 511 
(1 1-3-34] AR 30-945; WD Cir 149. 24 Jul 41, Sec. I; 
WD Cir 273. 31 Dec 4 1 . Sec. II. 

See below Ch. II 



regular trains frequently running behind 
schedule, and the division's tactics were 
designed to keep the carriers constantly 
alert to the Army's requirements and their 
responsibility for putting military traffic 
through promptly. 128 

Maintaining secrecy regarding troop 
train movements was a constant and diffi- 
cult problem. Secrecy was important be- 
cause of the danger of sabotage on the 
railroads and because the movement of 
large troop units into a port was indica- 
tion of an impending movement by ship 
from the port — information of value to 
enemy U-boats. Yet the possibilities for 
"leaks" were numerous. The troops them- 
selves found a prospective move interest- 
ing news to pass on to their relatives and 
friends. Certain information had to pass 
between home stations, the Traffic Con- 
trol Division, the stations of destination, 
and the carriers in order that the move- 
ments might be properly executed, and 
there was always danger that the messages 
would get into unauthorized hands or 
that some one who had received the infor- 
mation properly would use it carelessly. 
Three months after Pearl Harbor G-2 
reported that leaks had been traced to in- 
stitutions that provided free rest rooms to 
servicemen, civic organizations and tele- 
graph companies that sent representatives 
to meet troop trains, police radios report- 
ing the movement of military motor con- 
voys, and crowds assembled in railroad 
yards when troop trains were passing 
through. 129 

The problem of secrecy was encoun- 
tered during the prewar emergency and a 
tightening of the regulations was begun. 
Military personnel were warned against 
making public any information relating 
to troop movements. Instructions were 

issued requiring that all identification 
markings placed on passenger and freight 
cars, such as those indicating the unit 
moving or the destination, be removed 
before the departure of the cars from the 
military reservation. Movements were 
classified as secret, confidential, or re- 
stricted, and all communications and 
information pertaining to such move- 
ments had to be classified in the same 
way. Commanding officers were reminded 
of their responsibility for making all per- 
sonnel under their control familiar with 
security regulations. 130 Despite these steps, 
violations of security continued even after 
the United States became an active bel- 
ligerent. Fortunately there were no un- 
toward events traceable to this lack of 
secrecy, and, with the added measures 
taken by the Army, the situation gradu- 
ally improved. 

After Pearl Harbor steps were taken to 
increase troop train security. Explicit in- 
structions were issued to transportation 
officers in the field and to the personnel of 
the Traffic Control Division regarding the 
handling of messages relating to routings. 
In the case of secret and confidential 
movements, coded messages by teletype, 
telegraph, or radio were to be used when 
time permitted; when there was not suffi- 
cient time for such communications and 
telephone or uncoded telegraph commu- 
nications were necessary, the movements 

128 AR 55-155, 27 Nov 42, par. 1. For typical com- 
plaints, see Memo, C of Traf Contl Div for CofT, 7 
Aug 42, sub: Late Arrivals at Gamp Shelby, OCT 
511; Ltr, Morris to Gass, 5 Apr 44, and reply, 20 Apr 
44, OCT 511 Rail and Motor Mvmts; Ltr, Maj 
Samuel N. Farley to Mr. Kelly, 24 Oct 45, and reply, 
15 Nov 45, OCT 531.7 Train Av. 

129 Memo, G-2 for CofS, 3 Mar 42, sub: Compro- 
mise of Mil Info; Memo, TAG for CG AAF, et al., 13 
Mar 42; both in AG 350.05 (3-3-42)(3). 

130 AR 380-5, 18 Jim 41, Sec. VIII; WD Cir 198, 
22 Sep 41, Sec. I; WD Cir 242, 22 Nov 41, Sec. V, 



were to be identified only by reference to 
the movement orders, and information as 
to the date, size, origin, and destination 
was to be omitted. 131 The railroads were 
required to make sure that information 
regarding troop movements became avail- 
able only to employees requiring it, that 
only the information necessary to the per- 
formance of their duties was given, and 
that the employees were carefully in- 
structed in safeguarding such informa- 
tion. 132 The Traffic Control Division, 
while pressing the railroads to use utmost 
care, opposed suggestions that the carriers 
be required to put all communications 
regarding secret movements in code or to 
send them by registered mail, since such 
restrictions would have interfered with 
their operating efficiency. 133 

In the effort to limit the opportunity for 
improper dissemination of information, a 
broad prohibition was set up against giv- 
ing information regarding troop move- 
ments to representatives of nonmilitary 
agencies and against permitting visitors to 
go aboard troop trains. The Army de- 
clined to authorize the Association of 
American Railroads to give regular infor- 
mation to the Office of Defense Transpor- 
tation regarding troop movements, con- 
tending that this should be done only 
when a military purpose could be 
shown. 134 Representatives of foreign gov- 
ernments were denied such information, 
except certain officers who were working 
with the Combined Staff Planners. 135 
News agents, vendors of merchandise, 
and representatives of charitable organ- 
izations were not to be given advance in- 
formation regarding the arrival of special 
troop trains or to be permitted to board 
such trains, and this prohibition was 
interpreted as applying to the American 
Red Cross despite the good work it was 

doing on behalf of troop comfort and 
morale. 136 Railroads were not permitted 
to use secret or confidential trains for 
deadheading railroad personnel who were 
not performing duties on those trains. 137 
Military security as well as rapidity of 
transmission would have been improved 
if all communications regarding troop 
movements could have been sent over 
Army-controlled cryptographic teletype 
equipment. Late in 1942 the Chief of 
Transportation recommended the instal- 
lation of such connections between his 
office and all Army installations con- 
cerned with troop movements. The pro- 
posal was approved by Services of Supply 
headquarters, but not enough equipment 
could be obtained to carry it out. Private 
teletype communications were established 
only between the Traffic Control Division, 
the ports of embarkation, and the Army 
regulating stations on the transcontinen- 

131 Memo, Morris for All Routing Personnel, 7 Jun 
42, sub: Telephone Gonv — Classified Troop Mvmts, 
OCT 000.72 Gen; AR 55-130, 4 Jun 43, Changes 2, 
par. 86(1). 

132 Memo, Lasher for Gass, 13 Dec 41, OCT 080 
AAR; Memos, Gass to All RRs, 14 Dec 41, and 12 
Jan 42; Memo, Gass for Lasher, 22 Jan 42; last three 
in OCT 370.5 Secrecy; WD Cir 193, 16 Jun 42, par. 4; 
Ltr, Williamson to Western Mil Bur, 20 Jul 42, OCT 

133 1st Ind, CofT for Army Regulating Off, El Paso, 
Tex., 15 Apr 42, OCT 000.72 Gen; Memo, Traf 
Contl Div for Mvmts Div OCT, 15 Feb 43, sub: Safe- 
guarding Mil Info, OCT 370.5 Secrecy. 

114 Ltr, Gross to Eastman, ODT, 26 Apr 42, OCT 

135 The Combined Staff Planners was the commit- 
tee primarily responsible for assisting the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff in planning the strategic conduct of the 
war. It consisted of three British officers, Army, Navy, 
and Air, and four U.S. officers, Army, Navy, Army 
Air, and Navy Air. 

136 WD Cir 191, 15 Jun 42, Sec. V; Ltr, Lasher to 
MTS, 1 1 Jul 42, OCT 080 AAR; Ltr, Morris to West- 
ern Mil Bur, 1 1 Mar 44, OCT 531.7 Gen; WD Cir 
314, 26 Jul 44, Sec. VI. 

137 1st Ind, CofT for PMG, 1 Nov 43, OCT 511 
Rail and Motor Mvmts. 



tal rail lines. Consequently, commercial 
teletypes and telephones were used exten- 
sively, necessitating the restriction on the 
content of messages. 13X 

Although an Army regulation of Sep- 
tember 1942 appeared to favor the use of 
mixed trains, the Chief of Transportation 
did not. The inclusion of both passenger 
and freight cars in the same trains sub- 
jected the passenger equipment to hard 
treatment and necessitated more frequent 
lay-ups for repairs. Mixed trains moved 
more slowly than passenger trains, a fact 
that meant a loss of service from the pas- 
senger cars. The decision on using mixed 
trains, however, was left largely to the 
commanders of troops, and in many in- 
stances they adhered to the old doctrine 
that troops and their organic equipment 
should not be separated. The procedures 
that were developed during World War II 
for separate movements of troops and 
their impedimenta and the fact that the 
country was in no danger of invasion after 
the early weeks of the war invalidated this 
doctrine, yet the use of mixed trains con- 
tinued. 139 

When impedimenta were moved sepa- 
rately from the troops to which they per- 
tained, either in solid trains or in cars 
attached to through freight trains, the ship- 
ments were given MI (military impedi- 
menta) numbers, were moved from origin 
to destination with the least possible delay, 
and were controlled en route in the same 
manner as troop trains. Such shipments 
were exempt from the diversion orders of 
an agent of the Interstate Commerce 
Commission who had authority to reroute 
transcontinental freight traffic when he 
found this necessary to keep the principal 
railroad gateways free from congestion. 
Markings on troop equipment destined 

for oversea areas that might reveal the 
identity of the unit, its destination, or the 
ship on which it was to be transported 
were forbidden. Guards were provided for 
equipment in transit whenever the unit 
commanders considered them necessary. 140 

The close attention that the Chief of 
Transportation gave to the operation of 
troop trains and the importance that he 
attached to the observance of schedules 
and the maintenance of order and cleanli- 
ness were based on sound military princi- 
ples. The carriers sometimes felt that his 
insistence on the observance of schedules 
went beyond the point of military neces- 
sity, but unquestionably delays en route 
magnified the problems of troop train ad- 
ministration, and late arrivals were dis- 
turbing to the installations of destination. 
There were some, including military men, 
who believed that the Army's require- 
ments of secrecy in connection with train 
movements were stricter than the circum- 
stances warranted, but the rules were 
dictated by consideration of the heavy 
cost that might result from less strict 
security measures. Within the limits of 
practicality, the Chief of Transportation 
acted on the theory that a troop train was 
a military installation pro tern, and 
should be operated with corresponding 
regard for schedules, discipline, sanita- 
tion, and security. Although the results 
often fell below his expectations, for rea- 
sons that have been stated, these standards 
were achieved in large measure. 

138 OCT HB Monograph 22, pp. 64-65. 

139 AR 55-145, 30 Sep 42, par. lfr(2)(d); Interv with 
Morris, 24 May 43, OCT HB Traf Contl Div Pass; 
Morris monograph, pp. 53-54. 

140 OCT HB Monograph 22, pp. 51-57, 63; Memo, 
TAG for CG Field Forces, et al., 20 Jan 42, AG 370.5 
(12-20-41), and Memo TAG for CG Field Forces, et 
al., 28 Jan 42, AG 370.5 (1-25-42). 



Official and Furlough Travel 
on Regular Trains 

While troops moving in special trains 
constituted the most important element 
from a military standpoint, the other types 
of Army passenger traffic added up to a 
considerable volume and involved certain 
unique problems. Chief among these 
types were military personnel and civilian 
employees traveling on War Department 
transportation requests, either as small 
groups or as individuals, and military per- 
sonnel traveling at their own expense 
while on furlough, leave, or pass. This 
traffic was handled by regular train and 
bus services, which also handled the heavy 
traffic of civilians traveling on private 
business missions or for pleasure. The 
mingling of military and civilian pas- 
sengers and the crowded conditions of the 
trains, buses, and terminals gave rise to 
many of the passenger traffic problems 
with which General Gross and his Traffic 
Control Division had to deal. 

As has been indicated, persons traveling 
on War Department transportation re- 
quests (official travel) were routed by the 
Traffic Control Division when they num- 
bered forty or more, regardless of the 
point of origin, while local Army trans- 
portation officers routed smaller groups 
and individuals traveling from their re- 
spective stations. The problems involved 
in the issuance of transportation requests 
for such traffic and the fulfillment of 
financial arrangements between the car- 
riers and the government were numerous 
and sometimes vexatious. These adminis- 
trative details are not dealt with in this 
discussion, which is confined to the strictly 
transportation aspects. 141 

The necessity of utilizing railroad 
equipment with utmost economy gave rise 

to two arrangements, mentioned earlier, 
affecting the official travel of individuals 
and small groups. At the request of the 
railroads, the Army had agreed that local 
Army transportation officers would con- 
sult local railroad representatives before 
routing parties of from fifteen to thirty- 
nine, inclusive. This procedure enabled 
the railroads not only to work out the 
routing of this considerable traffic so as to 
use their equipment to best advantage but 
also to make an equitable division of the 
business among the several rail lines. 
Upon the recommendation of the Chief of 
Transportation, local transportation of- 
ficers, in order to utilize railway cars as 
they became available and thus reduce 
deadheading, were authorized to advance 
or delay the departure of troops that they 
had routed. These arrangements com- 
plemented each other and aided the 
Army transportation officers and the rail- 
roads in their joint effort to avoid idle car 
time and wasted car space. 

Army personnel engaging accommoda- 
tions in Pullman cars were not subject to 
the usual rules regarding the reservation 
and surrender of space. For many years 
Army regulations had provided that 
transportation requests for Pullman space 
would be surrendered after boarding the 
train, rather than exchanged for tickets 
before boarding as in the case of requests 
for rail transportation. This arrangement 
was convenient for officers and enlisted 
men whose time of departure was subject 
to sudden change, but it also meant that 
reservations could be held until train time 

141 The administrative rules are covered in AR 55- 
1 10, 22 Jan 43, sub: Trans Requests; AR 55-1 20, 26 
Apr 43, sub: Trans of Indiv; AR 55-125, 9 Jan 43, 
sub: Sleeping Car and Similar Accommodations; ARs 
of the 35 series, 4810 through 4895. For a discussion 
of administrative problems, see OCT HB Mono- 
graphs 6, pp. 232, 259-61 ; 20, pp. 6, 7, 30-57. 



and then not be used, and it permitted the 
holding of reservations on a number of 
trains simultaneously. In an effort to 
check the waste of Pullman space, the 
Office of Defense Transportation early in 
the war requested the Army and other 
federal agencies to change their proce- 
dures to conform to the rules applicable to 
the public at large. 142 

The Chief of Transportation did not 
agree to the proposal since it would have 
hampered officers in performing duties in- 
volving travel, but in September 1 942 he 
entered into an agreement with the Pull- 
man Company that brought considerable 
improvement to the situation. Under this 
agreement Pullman space that had been 
reserved forty-eight hours or more in ad- 
vance was held for military passengers 
until twenty-four hours before train time, 
or it was held until train time if the reser- 
vations had been made within forty- 
eight hours of departure. To meet the 
problem encountered by officers whose 
travel orders were changed just before de- 
parture, the Pullman Company permitted 
those who had already exchanged their 
transportation requests for Pullman tickets 
to use those tickets on other trains, and 
when the tickets could not be used at all, 
refund was made. 143 

When a party of troops required only 
part of a sleeping car, the Army practice 
was to use as many lower berths as were 
required, placing two men in each lower 
berth and using upper berths only if there 
was an odd man in the party or after all 
lowers had been filled. The railroads com- 
plained that this practice was inconsid- 
erate of other passengers who might travel 
in the same car and proposed that the 
Army assign its personnel section by sec- 
tion as the Navy did, thus leaving more 
lower berths available for civilians or 

members of the other armed services. The 
Chief of Transportation rejected this pro- 
posal and the Army practice remained 
unchanged. He pointed out that the Navy 
placed only one man in a lower berth (up 
to July 1945), and that the Army's meth- 
od of using Pullman space actually was 
the more economical. 144 

Furlough travel — a term covering the 
travel of soldiers on furlough, leave, or 
pass — created special problems because 
soldiers used the same facilities as civilians 
and because the peaks of furlough and 
civilian travel — week ends and major 
holiday periods — tended to coincide. No 
actual count of furlough tickets was made, 
but the railroads estimated that from 1 
January 1942 through 31 December 1945 
approximately 200,000,000 reduced-rate 
furlough tickets were sold to men and 
women of the armed services. 1 * 5 

Early efforts were made to hold fur- 
lough travel within limits because of the 
strain under which the carriers were 
working. Furlough travel was in competi- 
tion with official military movements for 
transportation equipment, and over- 
crowded trains were conducive to dis- 
order. Against these practical reasons for 
limiting furlough travel, the Army had to 

' 4 - Concerning loss of space due to commercial and 
governmental practices, see Senate Special Commit- 
tee Investigating the National Defense Program, Third 
Annual Report (Washington, March 4, 1944), pp. 1 16- 

143 Ltr, Pullman Co. to CofT, et al., 1 7 Jun 42; Ltr, 
ODT to Gross, 4 Jul 42; Ltr, Lasher to Pullman Co., 
13 Jul 42; Ltr, Brig Gen Theodore H. Dillon, OCT, to 
ODT, 17 Jul 42; Ltr, Pullman Co. to OCT, 29 Sep 
42; all in OCT 531.2; AR 55-1 10, 22 Jan 43, sub: 
Trans Reqmts, par. 4A; OCT HB Monograph 20, pp. 

144 AR 55-125, 9 Jan 43, par. 2c; Ltr, Lasher to 
IMC, 8 Apr 43, OCT 531.2 (AR 55-125). 

145 Ltr, Earl B. Padrick, Chm IMC, to author, 8 
Dec 50, OCT HB Traf Contl Div Pass. 



weigh both the popular argument that men 
in training for oversea duty should be 
afforded an opportunity to visit their 
homes as often as the training schedule 
would permit and the morale value of 
such visits. 

In the fall of 1941 the prospect of heavy 
furlough travel during the Christmas holi- 
day season caused anxiety to the railroads, 
The Quartermaster General, and G-4. 
Not only had the size of the Army greatly 
increased since the preceding holiday sea- 
son, but permission had been given to 
commanding officers to authorize fur- 
loughs up to 50 percent of their enlisted 
personnel at any one time during this 
period, rather than the usual 1 5 percent. 146 
The railroads proposed among other 
things that holiday furloughs begin not 
later than 12 December; that the War De- 
partment establish schedules so as to 
spread the traffic more evenly over the en- 
tire period; that the railroads be given ad- 
vance notice of the numbers scheduled to 
move each day; and that official troop 
movements be suspended between 12 De- 
cember and 14 January, except in case of 
extreme emergency. 147 The War Depart- 
ment accepted these proposals in princi- 
ple, but the Japanese attack on our Pacific 
bases and the ensuing declarations of war 
against Japan and Germany necessitated 
a complete change of arrangements. Limi- 
tations on official troop movements could 
not be observed. Furloughs were first lim- 
ited to 25 percent of unit strength and 
then restricted to cases of emergency and 
cases where the railroads could give as- 
surance to camp commanders that official 
troop movements would not be affected. 148 

In April 1942, in order to lighten the 
pressure on the carriers over week ends, 
commanders of Army installations were 
directed to arrange so far as practicable 

for furloughs to start and end on Tuesday, 
Wednesday, or Thursday. Commanders 
were also directed to schedule furloughs 
throughout the year and to avoid concen- 
trating them in certain months. 149 The 
Christmas-New Year holiday period at 
the end of 1942 threatened to produce un- 
usually heavy travel, and explicit instruc- 
tions covering furloughs granted between 
12 December and 12 January were issued 
limiting the number to 10 percent of the 
strength of the post, camp, or station; 
passes issued for shorter periods were also 
restricted. Post commanders were in- 
structed to co-operate with local railroad 
officials in deciding how much furlough 
travel could be moved from their com- 
mands and when it could be most readily 
handled. 130 When information reached 
the Chief of Transportation that some 
commanders were not observing these in- 
structions, he sent messages to all service 
commands requesting that measures be 
taken to enforce them. The Office of De- 
fense Transportation, which had been 
deeply concerned over the prospective 
congestion at this period, reported that 

lAS WD Gir 200, 25 Sep 41. 

147 Memo, TQMG for ACofS G-4, 16 Oct 41, sub: 
Christmas Furloughs; and subsequent correspondence 
leading up to issuance of Memo, TAG for CGs All 
Armies, etal.,1 Nov 4 1 ; all in AG 220.7 1 (12-28-39) 
AR 615-275; Memo, TAG for CGs All Armies, et al., 

4 Nov 41, sub: Curtailment of Troop Mvmts, AG 
370.5 (10-27-41); Memo, TAG for CofS GHQ, et al., 

5 Nov 41, sub: Induction of Men During Holidays, 
AG 324.71 (9-23-41); Memo, TAG for CGs Corps 
Areas, et al., 10 Nov 41, sub: Curtailment of Repl Tng. 
AG 324.71 (11-4-41). 

148 Memo, TAG for CofS GHQ, et al. , 8 Dec 4 1 , 
sub: Furlough Travel; Memo, TAG for CGs All 
Armies, et al., 24 Dec 41, sub: Curtailment of Leaves 
and Furloughs; both in AG 220.71 (12-28-39) AR 

14! * Memo, TAG for CG AGF, et al., 30 Apr 42, 
sub: Annual Leaves, Furloughs, and Vacations, AG 
230.54 (4-24-42). 

150 Memo, Gross for Somervell, 6 Oct 42, OCT HB 
Gross Day File; WD Cir 348, 19 Oct 42, Sec. II. 



the measures taken by the Army with 
regard to furlough travel had enabled the 
carriers to handle the seasonal traffic 
smoothly. 151 

While the holiday seasons presented the 
greatest difficulty, the Chief of Transpor- 
tation emphasized that excessive furlough 
travel was a year-round problem. In July 
1943, speaking before a service com- 
manders' conference, General Gross 
argued against the tendency of post com- 
manders to grant furloughs every time en- 
listed men changed stations and expressed 
the view that a visit home about once 
every six months would meet morale 
needs. He also urged greater restraint in 
issuing passes to visit nearby places since 
local rail and bus services were over- 
whelmed. 152 

Simultaneously the Traffic Control Di- 
vision proposed a revision of the basic 
Army regulations on furloughs, making 
the number of furloughs and passes issued 
at any post dependent at all times on the 
availability of commercial transportation 
equipment, and requiring post com- 
manders to reduce their quotas of fur- 
loughs and passes whenever transporta- 
tion considerations dictated. Army Service 
Forces headquarters approved the revision 
as it related to passes but not with respect 
to furloughs, contending that furloughed 
Army personnel should not be penalized 
while there was no restriction on travel by 
personnel of other governmental agencies 
or by the public at large. G-l opposed 
even the limitation on passes, because it 
affected Army personnel only and because 
of the difficulty of equitable enforcement. 
The entire proposal accordingly was 
dropped. 153 Special instructions regarding 
travel during the Christmas-New Year 
holiday season were issued in the fall of 
1943, as in earlier years. 154 

Complaints regarding the inadequacy 
of transportation available to men on fur- 
lough and the crowded condition of trains 
and buses led to the introduction of a bill 
in the U.S. House of Representatives in 
June 1944 to direct the Secretary of War 
and the Secretary of the Navy to give 
priority to furlough traffic. The War De- 
partment opposed the bill on the ground 
that furlough travel would be given pre- 
cedence over organized troop movements 
regardless of the urgency of the latter. In 
placing itself on record against this meas- 
ure the War Department expressed the 
belief that arrangements recently made 
with the railroads for handling fur- 
loughees in special trains, together with 
the reduction in furlough travel resulting 
from the reduction in the number of 
soldiers remaining in the zone of interior, 
would bring about an appreciable im- 
provement in the transportation situation. 
The proposed bill was not enacted into 
law. 155 

The arrangement to move furloughees 
on special trains was an extension of a 
plan that had been in effect earlier. Under 
Army regulations a large percentage of 
the troops shipped to oversea replace- 
ment depots and ports of embarkation 
were entitled to furloughs before sailing 

151 Rads, 15 Dec 42, OCT 551.1 Furlough Fares; 
Ltr, Eastman to Gross, 1 Jan 43, OCT HB Traf Contl 
Div Pass. 

152 Remarks by Gen Gross at SvC Conf, Chicago, 
22-24 Jul 43, p. 1 13, JAGO Library. 

153 Memo, OCT for CG ASF, 17 Jul 43, sub: Regu- 
lating Furloughs, OCT HB Traf Contl Div Pass; 
Memo, Mil Pers Div ASF for CG ASF, 19 Aug 43; 
Memo, ACofS G-l for CofS USA, 29 Sep 43, sub: 
Travel on Pass; last two in AG 220.7 1 (12-28-39) AR 
615-275; OCT HB Monograph 20, pp. 117-18. 

154 WD Cir 215, 16 Sep 43, Sec. VI. 

155 HR 51 16, 78th Cong., 2d Sess., 23 Jun 44; Ltr, 
SW to Rep Andrew J. May, Chm House Com on Mil 
Affairs, 24 Aug 44, OCT 51 1 Priorities for Service- 



overseas, and the transportation lines 
serving the training centers frequently 
were unable to accommodate this traffic. 
To relieve the situation, commanders of 
training centers were instructed to provide 
the men with official transportation on 
special troop trains to their new stations, 
and to allow those who would benefit by 
such an arrangement to leave the trains at 
convenient gateways and proceed to their 
homes at their own expense. When their 
furloughs were over, they returned to the 
gateways and boarded special troop trains 
for the completion of their journeys. Under 
this arrangement the furlough trip was 
shorter than it would have been if the 
soldiers had purchased furlough tickets 
from their stations to their homes and 
back again. Thus a considerable saving of 
transportation was effected and, in addi- 
tion, the men were relieved of the neces- 
sity of making long journeys on crowded 
regular trains. In the summer of 1944 this 
plan was extended so that whenever a car- 
load of men traveling on furlough tickets 
from a training center or other installation 
could be routed through the same gate- 
way, they were moved in a special car to 
the gateway, from which point they dis- 
persed to their homes, The operation was 
repeated in reverse when the men re- 
turned to their stations. 156 During the last 
half of 1944 about 216,000 troops on fur- 
lough were moved as organized groups in 
special cars, and during 1945 about 
329,000 were so transported. 157 

This method of handling furlough 
traffic, while it had definite advantages, 
required very careful administration at 
the stations from which the troops were 
moving, and gave rise to numerous com- 
plaints from the railroads. The difficulties 
arose from the fact that the number of fur- 
loughees leaving their stations by rail 

often was less than the number for which 
cars had been ordered and from the fail- 
ure of all men to return to the gateways in 
time to take the special cars that were to 
carry them back to their stations. 158 

The armed forces proposed in the sum- 
mer of 1944 that servicemen and service- 
women in uniform be allowed to pass 
through the gates at railway terminals or 
board trains in advance of civilian travel- 
ers. The primary purpose was to facilitate 
the travel of furloughees who held coach 
tickets; they had limited time for their 
journeys and often were delayed in getting 
aboard trains because of the volume of 
nonessential civilian traffic. In response to 
this proposal, the railroads stated that 
many of them already were following the 
practice at stations where there were facil- 
ities for controlling traffic and where the 
granting of preference was considered ex- 
pedient, and they did not favor the adop- 
tion of the plan as a general rule. 159 

It often happened that enlisted men 
who were entitled to a furlough before 
going overseas were without funds with 
which to purchase transportation. The 
Army Emergency Relief and the Red 
Cross had found it necessary to limit loans 
to servicemen to cases of sickness or death 

156 AR 615-275, Changes 3, 20 May 43, and 
Changes 5, 30 Sep 43; Memo, CofT for CG AGF, 3 
Jul 44, OCT 5 1 1 Furlough Travel; WD CTB 25, 10 
Aug 44; OCT HB Monograph 20, pp. 139-41. 

1,7 Data originally compiled by Transport Eco- 
nomics Section, Traffic Control Division, OCT, to be 
published in a statistical volume of this series, now in 

158 Ltr, Siddall to CofT, 1 1 Aug 44; Ltr, Morris to 
Siddall, 19 Aug 44; both in OCT 511 Furlough 
Travel; Memo, CofT for CG AGF, 29 Sep 44; Ltr, 
White to Siddall, 5 Jan 45; Memo, Gass for White, 10 
Feb 45; last three in OCT 511 Furlough or Delay En 

15n Ltr, Armed Forces to AAR and IMC, 1 1 Aug 
44, and reply, 24 Aug 44, OCT 510 Trans of 15 or 



at home. The Army accordingly arranged 
with the railroads and the bus lines for the 
issuance of official transportation requests 
for round-trip furlough tickets in such in- 
stances, with the understanding that the 
cost of this transportation would be 
charged against the account of the en- 
listed man and would in no case be borne 
by the government. 160 

In addition to the other measures he 
took to improve travel conditions for mili- 
tary personnel using regular trains, the 
Chief of Transportation assisted in obtain- 
ing reservations for sleepers, parlor cars, 
and reserved-seat coaches. The difficulty 
that members of the armed forces experi- 
enced in obtaining reserved space led first 
to the establishment of government reser- 
vation bureaus (GRB's) operated by the 
railroads, and later to the establishment of 
Army reservation bureaus (ARB's) to 
complement these special railroad offices. 

Government reservation bureaus were 
the outgrowth of an arrangement between 
the Passenger Branch in the Office of the 
Chief of Transportation and certain of the 
railroads that operated trains out of Wash- 
ington, under which a limited amount of 
space was held at the disposal of the 
branch to meet its emergency needs. The 
arrangement proved so helpful that the 
Passenger Branch proposed that it be ex- 
tended to other cities. The railroads were 
agreeable, and the approval of the Office 
of Defense Transportation was given with 
the provision that the space held by the 
railroads should be available to all of the 
armed services and also to the War Pro- 
duction Board and the Office of Price 
Administration. Organized on this basis, 
the first GRB began functioning in Wash- 
ington late in June 1942. Space was sold 
to the several government agencies in the 

order of application, and any space not 
taken up by these agencies within the time 
set by the railroads was made available to 
the public. 

Plans for the extension of this arrange- 
ment to other cities were worked out at 
meetings between representatives of the 
government agencies and the railroads in 
the fall of 1942. Recommendations for the 
establishment of additional GRB's usually 
originated with the Passenger Branch, but 
the decision as to their actual establish- 
ment rested with a committee represent- 
ing the major rail lines. The operation of 
each bureau was the responsibility of a 
committee of local railroad representa- 
tives. The government agencies author- 
ized to use the GRB's were required to 
designate a single office in each city 
through which all requests for reservations 
would be made. 161 The offices that the 
Army designated for this purpose became 
known as Army reservations bureaus. 162 

The scope of this activity was steadily 
increased. Although it was part of the 
original plan that reservations would be 
requested only for individuals on official 
travel and not for groups, the rule was 
modified, against considerable railroad 
opposition, to permit the ARB's to make 
reservations for groups up to fourteen. 163 
The railroads and the Office of Defense 
Transportation also objected to the exten- 

loo OCT HB Monograph 20, pp. 145-46; WD Gir 
22, IB Jan 45, Sec. II. 

161 OCT HB Monograph 20, pp. 83-85; Memo, 
Lasher to Wylie, 10 Nov 42, OCT 531.8 GRBs; WD 
Cir 40, 4 Feb 43, Sec. I; Standard Operating Proce- 
dure for GRBs issued by CofT, undated, OCT HB 
TZ Gen ARB. 

162 Memo, Lasher for CofT, 2 Aug 43, sub: GRB 
Status Rpt, OCT 531.2 GRBs. 

143 Ltr, Armed Forces to AAR and IMC, 1 1 Aug 
44, and replies, 24 Aug 44 and 1 1 Sep 44, OCT 510 
Trans of 1 5 or Less. 



sion of the arrangement so that the reser- 
vation bureaus could serve personnel 
traveling on furlough and leave, but even- 
tually both accepted the Army's recom- 
mendation. The carriers also agreed to set 
aside space in their larger terminals so 
that the Army reservation bureaus located 
at Army installations in those cities could 
operate branches in locations more readily 
accessible to transient service personnel. 
At the end of hostilities the Army had 
forty-four reservation bureaus and they, 
in turn, maintained a total of forty-eight 
branches. General supervision of these 
offices was a responsibility of the Traffic 
Control Division. More detailed super- 
vision was given by the zone transporta- 
tion officers, who also negotiated with the 
railroads regarding increased allotments 
of reserved space to the government reser- 
vation bureaus in their respective terri- 
tories. 184 

The chief problem in the operation of 
Army reservation bureaus was to get the 
carriers to allocate sufficient space on 
trains to the government reservation 
bureaus to meet the military need. The 
Chief of Transportation kept pressing for 
larger allocations and some lines re- 
sponded, but others evidently were reluc- 
tant to hold back large blocks of space 
from the general public. 165 Although the 
Army emphasized that the reservation 
bureaus were operated solely as a con- 
venience to military personnel and did not 
imply any priority in favor of military 
over civilian travelers, the fact remained 
that while space was under allocation to 
the GRB's it was not available to the 
public. On the Army's side it could be 
pointed out that civilians could and did 
make reservations far in advance, whereas 
this frequently was not possible with mili- 
tary personnel, and that some large busi- 

ness concerns bought up blocks of space on 
important trains and never relinquished it 
even though some of the accommodations 
might not be used. 

Despite the competition for reserved 
space, the results obtained by the Army 
reservation bureaus were substantial. 
During the early months of operation the 
percentage of requests that could not be 
filled was high, reaching a peak of 13.3 
percent in August 1943, but rapid im- 
provement followed. In several later 
months the percentage of failures was as 
low as 2.1. Activities of the ARB's from 
their inception in April 1943 through 1945 
are summarized in |Table 5.j 

The Chief of Transportation considered 
this traffic so important that in order to 
supplement the regular sleeper services he 
assigned to it a considerable number of 
the cars that had been allotted to handle 
organized troop movements. These cars 
were placed on routes where the travel of 
military personnel on official business and 
on furlough was especially heavy, and 
they were designated military sleeping 
car lines. When the need became ap- 
parent to the Traffic Control Division, the 
division requested the railroad concerned 
and the Pullman Company to study the 
situation and to arrange for the operation 
of such a line. When on days of peak 
travel the traffic exceeded the capacity of 
regular sleeper services and the military 
sleeping car line, the officer in charge of 

164 OCT HB Monograph 20, pp. 7 7-82, 85-98; 
WD Memo W 55-40-43, 24 Aug 43; WD Cir 396, 7 
Oct 44, Sec. I; WD CTB 23, 8 May 45, includes a list 
of ARB's and their branches and the rules governing 
their operation. 

165 Ltr, Gross to Maj Gen Sanderford Jarman, 23 
Jul 43, OCT 531.8 GRBs; Ltr, Morris to IMC, 17 
Aug 44, OCT 53 1.2 SF; 1st Ind, 8th ZTO for CofT, 
1 Jan 45, and related correspondence, OCT 531.2 
New Orleans. 

Table 5 — Army Reservation Bureau Activity: April 1943-December 1945 




Not Obtained 

of Failures 

823, 388 

753, 521 

69, 867 



1, 754,048 

1, 687, 369 

66, 679 



4,312, 524 

4, 184, 282 

128, 242 


Sourct: Data based on Army Reservation Bureau Activity Report, received by Traffic Control Division, OCT, compiled for publication 
in a statistical volume of this series, now in preparation. 

an Army reservation bureau was author- 
ized to arrange with the carriers for the 
assignment of overflow sleeping cars. 
These also were to be taken from the mili- 
tary allotment. Since the establishment of 
military sleeping car lines meant that so 
much less equipment was available for or- 
ganized troop movements, the Traffic 
Control Division weighed very carefully 
the circumstances affecting each case. 
While these lines were intended primarily 
for military personnel for whom reserva- 
tions had been made by the ARB's, any 
space not sold by the release time was 
made available to the public. In May 
1945 there were seventy-six such lines in 
operation. 166 

Although the Army reservation bureaus 
initially served only Army personnel, their 
services eventually were made available 
to personnel of the Navy, the Marine 
Corps, and the Coast Guard. The Navy 
also set up a number of reservation bu- 
reaus that could be used by personnel of 
all of the armed services. Toward the close 
of the war both the Army and the Navy 
reservation bureaus were advertised as 
military reservation bureaus, but in most 
places the management continued to be 
by the Army or by the Navy. Early in 
1945 the ARB's at San Francisco, Los 
Angeles, and Seattle became joint bureaus 
and were operated under the control of 

committees representing all of the armed 
services. 167 

As soon as hostilities were over the car- 
riers undertook to terminate the operation 
of both government reservation bureaus 
and military sleeping car lines promptly. 
In this they had the support of Mr. John- 
son, Director of Defense Transportation, 
who on 4 September 1945 informed the 
armed forces that overflow sleeping cars 
would be discontinued at once, and that 
the GRB's would be canceled on 15 Octo- 
ber "in order that sleeping cars may be 
made available for commercial use on a 
parity with government travel." General 
Gross and his colleagues in the other 
branches of the military establishment im- 
mediately entered a protest against this 
action, pointing out that the military pop- 
ulation of the country would be large for 
many months to come and that military 
personnel returning from overseas would 
be in special need of these services. The 
protest was successful. The government 
reservation bureaus were continued, on a 
diminishing scale, until August 1946. 
While some military sleeping car lines 
were discontinued, others were inaugu- 

16C OCT HB Monograph 20, pp. 97-100; WD CTB 
23, 8 May 45, p. 12. 

167 Memo, CofT for 9th ZTO, 28 Oct 44, OCT 
53 1.8 GRBs; Interv with Col Morris, 1 1 Oct 50, OCT 



.n,.v nauv MARINE LUKra 


station concourse, New Orleans, Louisiana. 

rated during the period of heavy demobi- 
lization. 188 

The number of officers passing through 
Washington to domestic and oversea as- 
signments was large, and the Chief of 
Transportation provided a complete travel 
service for their benefit. This service, 
established in November 1942, replaced 
similar services set up by The Adjutant 
General and by other agencies of the War 
Department. Operated as a section of the 
Passenger Branch, Traffic Control Divi- 
sion, the travel bureau had its main office 
in the Pentagon and a branch in the 

Munitions Building. Complementing the 
activities of the Army reservation bureau 
(formally set up in April 1943), the travel 
bureau rendered assistance in preparing 
mileage and expense vouchers, aided in 
filing applications for pay allotments and 
insurance, gave advice on obtaining 

188 Ltr, Gross to Johnson, 21 Aug 45; Ltr, Johnson 
to Gross, 4 Sep 45; Ltr. Armed Forces to Johnson, 5 
Sep 45; Ltr, Johnson to Armed Forces, 10 Sep 45; 
Memo, Mclntyre for Gross, 12 Sep 45; Ltr, Johnson 
to Gross, 20 Sep 45; all in OCT HB Gross ODT; Ltr, 
IMC to Johnson, 8 Jan 46, OCT 531.7 Sleeping Car 



financial assistance and making wills, 
issued transportation requests upon pres- 
entation of travel orders, prepared itin- 
eraries, provided information regarding 
conditions in foreign countries, processed 
applications for passports and visas, made 
reservations for air and rail travel, and ob- 
tained hotel accommodations in other 
cities. Consolidated ticket offices main- 
tained by the rail, bus, and airlines were 
domiciled with the travel bureau. The 
bureau's services were available to both 
the civilian and the military personnel of 
the Army, and for group as well as indi- 
vidual travel. After the war its activities 
were transferred to the Military District of 
Washington. 1 " 9 

Although the commanders of Army in- 
stallations in the zone of interior were also 
instructed to establish travel information 
booths to enable officers and enlisted men 
to complete arrangements without having 
to visit the crowded ticket offices of the 
carriers, the travel bureau established in 
Washington was unique both in size and 
in scope. The nature and extent of its prin- 
cipal activities are indicated in the follow- 
ing summary of services performed during 
the fiscal year ending 30 June 1945: 170 

Services Number 

Military travel orders issued 19,262 

Civilian travel orders issued 4,967 

Transportation requests issued 11 6,640 

Mileage vouchers prepared 23,608 

Pullman reservations made 164,251 

Air reservations made 44,654 

Hotel reservations made 10,533 

Passports obtained 6,680 

Visas obtained 8,363 

The value of ticket sales for the fiscal year 
1945 were as follows: 171 

Railway $3,370,774 

Airline 853,884 

Bus 12,750 

The hotel reservation service performed 
by the Chief of Transportation's travel bu- 
reau was based on an arrangement made 
with the American Hotel Association 
early in 1943 under which members of the 
Association agreed to reserve rooms, 
against letters of recommendation written 
by the travel bureau, either in their own 
hotels or in others of similar class. Travel- 
ers presented copies of these letters when 
claiming their accommodations. The suc- 
cess of the plan led to its extension to some 
of the Army reservation bureaus in the 
field. The travel bureau in Washington 
and the ARB's made only out-of-town 
reservations. Late in the war the service 
commands set up bureaus in the princi- 
pal cities that made hotel reservations 
only in their respective localities. Then it 
was arranged that when any of the Chief 
of Transportation's bureaus wanted to 
make reservations in cities in which there 
were service command bureaus, they 
would do so through the latter bureaus 
rather than directly with the hotels. 172 

Discipline of military personnel travel- 
ing on regular trains became a problem as 
soon as the build-up of the armed forces 
began in 1940. Train officials were reluc- 
tant to exercise the same authority over 
soldiers that they did over civilians, mili- 
tary authority was frequently lacking, and 

166 OCT HB Monograph 20, pp. 102-14; SOS 
Adm Memo 65, 9 Nov 42, sub: Discontinuance of 
Travel Assistance Functions; SOS Memo, 13 Nov 42, 
sub: New Location of Travel Offices; WD Memo 
55-45, 22 Oct 45, sub: Estab of Oversea Travel 
Office, MDW; ASF Cir 128, 24 May 46, Sec. VI. 

1711 WD Cir 77, 17 Mar 43, Sec. IV; Annual Rpt, 
Traf Contl Div, FY 1945, p. 31, OCT HB Traf Contl 
Div Rpts. 

171 Ibid. 

172 OCT HB Monograph 20, pp. 114-1 14*; ASF 
Cir 77, 2 Mar 45, Sec. II; ASF Cir 1 74, 17 May 45, 
Sec. I. 



young men temporarily relieved from the 
restraints of the military reservation were 
often guilty of rowdyism and irresponsible 
acts. Complaints made by passengers and 
train officials indicated that the excessive 
use of liquor was a contributing factor in 
many cases. The railroads therefore in- 
quired whether it was the desire of the 
Army that they refuse to sell liquor to 
service personnel. The Adjutant General 
replied in the negative, stating that dis- 
crimination against service personnel on 
public trains was undesirable and that en- 
listed men who were drunken or disorderly 
were subject to trial and punishment by 
court-martial under the Articles of War. 173 

Although the commanding officers of 
camps and other installations were di- 
rected to enforce the regulations strictly 
and to co-operate with railroad officials in 
dealing with disciplinary problems, the 
complaints against misconduct continued. 
The carriers then proposed that the Army 
place its representatives on trains carrying 
large numbers of furloughees to enforce 
discipline. The Army at first rejected this 
proposal, in part because of the lack of 
appropriations, but later accepted it when 
the railroads offered free transportation 
for such representatives. In September 
1941 station commanders were author- 
ized to designate military police to ride 
such trains when the railroads requested 
them to do so. 174 

After the United States entered the war 
and travel by servicemen on regular trains 
increased, further measures were required. 
As a first step, post commanders were 
again directed to deal vigorously with 
cases of misbehavior on trains, but the 
need for more effective control was soon 
evident. 175 The next step was to assign to 
the commanders of corps areas (later re- 
designated service commands) full respon- 
sibility for placing military police on regu- 

lar passenger trains whenever large num- 
bers of military personnel were being 
carried. 176 In the beginning this arrange- 
ment was not wholly successful because 
many of the men assigned as military po- 
lice were inadequately trained and were 
not always assigned to the trains where 
they were most needed. In November 
1942 General Marshall, the Chief of Staff, 
complained that the control of discipline 
on trains was not effective, and the Provost 
Marshal General then appointed thirty 
inspectors to make investigations through- 
out the country and to coach military po- 
lice in the proper performance of their 
duties. 177 

The effectiveness of the military police 
increased steadily after these measures 
were taken. As the reports of difficulty be- 
came less frequent some of the service 
commands, in view of the growing scarcity 
of military police, began withdrawing 
them from certain trains. In the summer 

175 Ltrs, IMC to TQMG and Other Armed Forces, 
4 Mar 40, and 29 Jun 40; Ltr, IMC for TQMG, 31 
Jul 40; Ltr, TAG to IMC, 5 Aug 40; all in OCT 250.1 
Misconduct of Mil Pers, Vol. I. 

174 Memo, IMC for TQMG, et aL, 26 Feb 41; 
Memo, TAG to CGs Corps Areas, et al., 1 May 41, 
sub: Conduct of Mil Pers on Trains; Ltr, IMC to 
TAG, 12 May 41; Ltr, TAG to IMC, 10 Jun 41; Ltr, 
IMC to TAG, 15 Jul 41; Memo, TAG to CGs Corps 
Areas, et al., 26 Sep 41, sub: MP on Furlough Trains; 
Ltr, TAG to IMC, 4 Nov 41; all in AG 250.1 (2-26- 

175 Memo, TAG for CG AGF, et al., 12 Apr 42, 
sub: Conduct of Mil Pers on Pub Carriers, AG 250.1 

1,0 Memo, TAG for CG AGF, etc., 21 Jul 42, sub: 
Misconduct on Pub Carriers, AG 250.1 (7-14-42); 
SOS Memo S 190-1-42, 24 Sep 42, sub: MPs Assigned 
to Pub Carriers. Concerning general responsibility of 
service commands for conduct of military personnel, 
see WD Cir 77,17 Mar 43, Sees. I and III. 

177 Memos, CofS for PMG, 4 and 17 Nov 42; 
Memo PMG for CofS, 23 Nov 42; Memo, PMG for 
CGs of SvCs, 1 Dec 42; all in PMG 250. 1 ; WD Memo 
W 190-1-43, 5 Jan 43, sub: Size and Composition of 
MP Details on Carriers; WD Memo, W 190-2-43, 13 
Sep 43, sub: Assignment of MPs to Extra Sections; 
ASF Cir 224, 18 Jul 44, Sec. III. 



of 1943 the railroads protested vigorously 
against this action and the Chief of Trans- 
portation supported their position. As a 
result, ASF headquarters reminded the 
service commands of their responsibilities 
and directed them not to withdraw mili- 
tary police from trains unless a careful 
survey showed their services were not 
needed. 178 

In addition to quelling disturbances and 
performing other duties of a disciplinary 
nature, military police checked the papers 
of each soldier to make sure that he was 
traveling with proper authority and that 
he was on the right train. At the end of 
July 1945, out of a total of 10,640 military 
police engaged in the enforcement of dis- 
cipline in the United States, 3,401 were 
policing railroad stations and trains. 179 

In the early months of the war the 
Army's military policemen and the Navy's 
shore patrolmen devoted their attention 
entirely to men of their respective services. 
Later, under an agreement made in 1942, 
they were authorized to take corrective 
measures against servicemen of any of the 
armed services when their actions were 
reprehensible. Military police and mem- 
bers of the shore patrol frequently served 
on joint missions. 180 One disadvantage of 
the joint patrols, as the Provost Marshal 
General pointed out, was that shore pa- 
trolmen were all petty officers while only 
a small proportion of the military police 
held comparable grades. 181 

The matter of serving liquor to Army 
personnel on regular trains came up re- 
currently. The railroads desired a definite 
statement of policy from the Army, and 
the Army apparently hesitated to take a 
positive stand. Eventually, in September 
1943, the railroads were informed that re- 
sponsibility for this matter had been 
assigned to the Chief of Transportation 
and that certain steps had been decided 

on. Railroad employees were requested to 
refuse to sell liquor to soldiers whose ac- 
tions indicated that an additional drink 
might result in disorderly conduct. The 
serving of liquor in dining cars was to be 
stopped whenever such sale interfered 
with the expeditious serving of meals. At 
the same time the extensive conversion of 
lounge and club cars into coaches already 
had greatly reduced the opportunity for 
soldiers to obtain liquor on the trains. 182 
The policy was therefore one of regulation 
rather than of prohibition. 

Transportation of members of the 
Women's Army Corps (WAC) and en- 
listed men in separate cars was favored by 
WAC headquarters. The Chief of Trans- 
portation agreed that this should be done 
when practicable but pointed out that 
complete segregation could not be assured 
in view of the shortage of railway equip- 
ment. Segregation was easily accomplished 
when enough servicewomen to fill a car 
were traveling, but when smaller groups 
were involved they were often placed in 
the same cars with servicemen to avoid 
wasting space. This procedure was in 
keeping with the commercial practice, and 
no unusual difficulties were experienced. 
Each group of Wacs had a leader with 
disciplinary responsibilities, as did the 
enlisted men. 183 

,7 » Memo, ASF Hq for CGs of SvCs, 2 Sep 43, OCT 
531.7 MP on Trains. 

1711 PMGO monograph, Military Policy Division, 
Provost Marshal General's Office, 1 Sep 45, p. 44, 
OCMH; WD press release, 7 Nov 46. 

>*» WD Cir 380, 24 Nov 42. 

lsl PMGO monograph, cited n. 179. 

182 Ltr, Wylie to Siddall, Western Mil Bur, 15 Sep 
43, and preceding correspondence in OCT 531.7 Sale 
of Liquor on Trains. 

181 Memo, CofT for CG ASF, 1 7 Dec 43; WD Cir 
154, 18 Apr 44. Sec. Ill; Memo, CofT for CG 7th 
SvC, 1 9 Jun 45 ; all in OCT 5 1 1 Mixed Groups of En- 
listed Men and Women; Interv with Morris, 26 Jun 
50, OCT HB Traf Contl Div Pass. 



The problems that arose when military 
personnel used regular transportation serv- 
ices were different from those encountered 
when they moved by special troop train, 
and in some respects they were more diffi- 
cult to handle. The sources of difficulty 
were the mingling of civilians and soldiers, 
the overcrowding of trains and buses, and 
the lack of military control over the facili- 
ties and of command authority over the 
men. The Chief of Transportation did 
much to relieve the uncertainties and in- 
conveniences of travel by providing the 
reservation bureaus, the military sleeping 
car lines, and through other measures. As 
to discipline, such measures were taken as 
were considered feasible and the situation 
improved, but it never became wholly 
satisfactory. The need for military police 
on all trains carrying substantial numbers 
of servicemen was clearly demonstrated. 

Movement of Patients 

In moving patients, as in moving troops, 
all suitable means of transportation were 
used — the railways, air transport, and 
motor ambulances. 1S4 The employment of 
aircraft developed gradually and ambu- 
lances were used chiefly for short hauls, so 
that the railways were the major factor. 
It was with the rail movements that the 
Transportation Corps was primarily con- 

In peacetime the small numbers of 
patients that had to be moved by rail were 
transported by regular train service using 
sleepers, parlor cars, or coaches according 
to the condition of the patients and the 
length of the journeys. During the war the 
Army found it advisable to build up a fleet 
of specially constructed hospital cars to 
handle the rapidly growing traffic, partic- 
ularly the more serious cases, but the rail- 

roads' regular services and equipment still 
were required. 

Movements of patients fell into two 
general categories. In the first category 
were movements of patients being trans- 
ferred to or between medical facilities in 
the zone of interior. Such movements 
were regulated by The Surgeon General, 
who took into account the medical needs 
of the patients and bed vacancies in the 
respective hospitals. In the second category 
were movements from the water ports and 
aerial ports where patients were landed 
after evacuation from the oversea theaters. 
These movements followed a prearranged 
pattern. In general, they were governed 
by bed credits that the ports held at so- 
called debarkation hospitals located near 
the seaboard. Usually the patients re- 
mained at the debarkation hospitals only 
a few days pending determination of the 
institutions to which they would be sent 
for further treatment or for convalescence. 
While there was a certain amount of traffic 
involving patients stationed in the zone of 
interior, the heavier movements resulted 
from oversea evacuations, and the volume 
was therefore on an ascending scale 
throughout the war, reaching its peak soon 
after the German surrender when evacu- 
ation from the European theater was being 

Close collaboration obviously was nec- 
essary between The Surgeon General, who 
controlled the direction of the traffic and 
supervised the medical services rendered 
en route, and the Chief of Transportation, 
who had over-all responsibility for provid- 
ing the means of transportation. General 

184 See Clarence McKittrick Smith, The Medical De- 
partment: Hospitalization and Evacuation, £one of Interior, 
(Washington, 1956), Chs. XIX-XXIV, for a detailed 
discussion of the handling of patients, including their 


Table 6 — Operations of Army Hospital Cars and Medical Kitchen Cars: 1944—1946 





Hospital Cuts 



3, 162, 388 


8, 391, 457 


2, 775, 330 

Medical Kitchen Cars 



1, 434, 124 





Source: Records of Passenger Branch, Traffic Control Division, OCT; monthly data from these records will be published in a statistical 
volume of this series, now in preparation. 

co-ordination was provided by the Hospi- 
talization and Evacuation Branch of ASF 
headquarters, but that was not enough; 
direct collaboration was necessary on the 
many details relating to the proper move- 
ment and adequate care of patients. This 
was undertaken in the beginning through 
the assignment of a medical liaison officer 
to the Chief of Transportation, and later 
by the attachment of a medical regulating 
unit to the Chief of Transportation's Move- 
ments Division. This unit dealt with the 
movement of patients from the theaters 
and their handling at the ports, as well as 
with their subsequent transportation 
inland. 1&s 

Although the war found the Army 
without any definite plans for the develop- 
ment of a fleet of hospital cars, 320 such 
cars were acquired gradually for operation 
in the zone of interior. 186 Of these, 120 
were former Pullman sleepers and lounge 
cars that had been converted to hospital 
cars with thirty-two berths arranged in 
two tiers. The remaining 200 had been 
designed and built as hospital cars with 

accommodations for thirty-six persons in 
three-tier berths. All cars had large side 
doors to facilitate the handling of litter 
patients. Some cars that were acquired 
early in the war did not at first have 
kitchen facilities, but later all were 
equipped with buffet kitchens. Air condi- 
tioning was not installed in some of the 
earlier acquisitions, but eventually it was 
provided for the entire fleet. The Army 
also built sixty medical kitchen cars, 
which were of simplified design similar to 
the troop kitchen cars but especially 
equipped for feeding patients. The medi- 
cal kitchen cars were needed principally 
for use in connection with moving patients 
in regular sleeping cars and coaches, be- 
cause such cars had no kitchen equipment. 
Summary data regarding the operation of 
the hospital cars and medical kitchen cars 
during 1944, 1945, and 1946 are given in 
Table 6. 

183 The medical regulating unit will be discussed in 
connection with evacuation by water. See below, p. 

"On the build-up of this fleet, see Wardlow, op. 

cit., ] PP . aBb^sq 



Since hospital cars served as both 
medical facilities and transportation facil- 
ities and were staffed and supplied by the 
Army, responsibility for their construction, 
maintenance, and operation was divided 
among several Army agencies. These re- 
sponsibilities were worked out after the 
United States entered the war, and for a 
time the division of authority was not en- 
tirely clear. But by the time the movement 
of patients became heavy, responsibilities 
had been clarified. 187 The Surgeon Gen- 
eral and the Chief of Transportation col- 
laborated in establishing car designs that 
would meet both medical and transporta- 
tion requirements. The Chief of Transpor- 
tation supervised the maintenance of the 
cars as railroad equipment — such mainte- 
nance was provided by the railroads — 
assigned them to the service commands in 
accordance with the requirements of the 
respective areas, made general arrange- 
ments with the carriers for the movement 
of the cars over their lines, and in certain 
cases provided routings. The Surgeon 
General supervised the maintenance of 
the medical equipment and the staffing of 
the cars with medical personnel. The serv- 
ice commands were directly responsible 
for staffing, supplying, and cleaning the 
cars and for their assignment to load at 
ports of embarkation and hospitals in ac- 
cordance with the number of patients to 
be moved from the respective installations. 

The Army policy was to move as many 
patients as possible in hospital cars, since 
they were more satisfactory from the 
standpoint of facilities than regular pas- 
senger equipment and the latter was sorely 
needed for civilian and troop traffic. It 
was necessary, nevertheless, to call on the 
carriers for many sleepers for litter pa- 
tients and their attendants as well as for 
parlor cars and coaches to accommodate 

ambulant patients. Because The Surgeon 
General desired that litter patients be 
moved in air-conditioned cars, the sleepers 
assigned to this traffic were mostly of the 
standard type rather than tourist-class 
cars. The special Army troop sleepers were 
not used for patients because of the lack of 
air conditioning and other refinements. 188 

In the early part of the war the Chief of 
Transportation had less control over the 
routing of movements of patients and the 
ordering of equipment from the railroads 
than he had over troop movements, but 
his control increased as the war progressed. 
Under instructions issued by SOS head- 
quarters in the summer of 1942, the service 
commands were authorized to deal directly 
with the railroads regarding sleepers, 
coaches, and dining cars for the transfer 
of patients, as well as routings, when the 
movements were wholly within their terri- 
torial jurisdictions. 18 * This procedure con- 
tinued until June 1943, when it was 
changed to conform to the policy already 
in effect for other traffic — groups of forty 
or more would be moved under arrange- 
ments made by the Chief of Transporta- 
tion. 190 In the spring of 1945 in anticipa- 
tion of heavy patient traffic at the end of 
the war in Europe and the consequent 
desirability of consolidating movements as 
much as possible in order to conserve rail 
equipment, the Chief of Transportation 

187 SOS Pamphlet, Military Hospitalization and 
Evacuation of Patients, 15 Sep 42, in OCT HB Rail 
Div Hosp Care; WD Cir 3 16, 6 Dec 43. 

iss Morris monograph, p. 56; Memo, SG for CoFT, 
6 Dec 43; Memo, GofT for GAO, 1 Oct 45, par. 6; 
last two in OCT 531.4 Hosp Train. 

IS9 Memo, GG SOS for CGs SvCs, 26 Aug 42, sub: 
Control of Hosp Trains, par. 4, OCT 531.4 Hosp 
Trains; SOS Pamphlet, Military Hospitalization and 
Evacuation of Patients, cited n. 187. 

190 AR 55-130, 28 Dec 42, par. 86, and Changes 2, 4 
Jun 43. 



requested authority to control all move- 
ments involving fifteen or more patients 
and attendants. This authority was 
granted in June 1945. Smaller movements 
were arranged for by local transportation 
officers through representatives of the rail- 
roads attached to their installations. 191 

The Chief of Transportation also in- 
creased his control over the utilization of 
Army hospital cars as the patient traffic 
became heavier. Because of his close con- 
tacts with The Surgeon General and the 
railroads, as well as his control over rout- 
ings, he was able to avoid deadheading 
and other uneconomical practices much 
more effectively than the service com- 
mands. Consequently, early in 1944 the 
Chief of Transportation's Traffic Control 
Division began to assign hospital cars to 
specific movements, request railroad 
equipment for integration into hospital 
trains, establish schedules, and determine 
what stopovers and diversions could be 
made en route. Similar supervision was 
exercised over the employment of the 
medical kitchen cars. In December 1943, 
with this increased control in prospect, the 
Passenger Branch had established an 
evacuation unit to deal exclusively with 
the movement of patients. This unit was 
responsible for advance planning as well 
as day-to-day operations. 192 

The evacuation unit kept each move- 
ment of patients under observation and 
complained to the railroads whenever 
their services did not appear satisfactory. 
It emphasized the importance of the 
smooth handling of hospital trains and 
cars and requested that buffer cars always 
be placed between locomotives and cars 
occupied by patients. 193 The apparent in- 
clination of some lines to handle hospital 
movements "at their leisure," with result- 

ing poor connections at junction points 
and long delays for the patients, was 
strongly criticized. 194 As in the case of 
complaints regarding troop trains, the 
Military Transportation Section trans- 
mitted the reported failures to the individ- 
ual rail lines and eventually relayed the 
lines' explanations to the Chief of Trans- 

Despite the effort to move patients in 
groups of a carload or greater, it frequently 
was not possible to do so, and arrange- 
ments for the transportation of individuals 
and small groups on regular trains were 
necessary. Although such arrangements 
were made by the local transportation 
officers, the Chief of Transportation used 
his close relations with the railroads to 
insure prompt handling. The principal 
problem was to obtain accommodations 
without delay. Patients traveling on regu- 
lar trains usually required room space, 
and such space generally was sold or 
reserved far in advance. Sometimes trav- 
elers who held space could be persuaded 
to relinquish it in favor of patients whose 
cases were urgent, but this was not always 
true. The railroads were requested, and 
they agreed, to have such situations re- 
ferred to their general passenger offices, 

_ 191 WD Cir 234, 12Jun44;Ltr, Morris to IMC, 2 
Aug 44, and reply, 31 Aug 44, OCT 511; WD Cir 
405, 14 Oct 44; Ltr, IMC to CofT, 9 Feb 45; Memo, 
CofT for SG, 14 Feb 45, sub: Routing Hosp Train 
Travel, par. 3; last two in OCT 531.4 Hosp Cars; 
Memo, CofT for ACofS G-4, 16 May 45, OCT 511 
(AR 55-130); WD Cir 177, 15Jun 45, Sec. II. 

192 Rpt, Traf Contl Div, FY 1944, pp. 23-24, OCT 
HB Trif Contl Div Rpts; ASF Cir 328, 30 Sep 44, 
Sec. VIII. 

193 Ltr, Morris to MTS, 13 Nov 44; Ltr, AAR to 
Morris, 20 Nov 44, and atchd instruction to RRs; both 
in OCT 5 10 Patients. 

184 See Memos, White to MTS, 21 Apr 45, OCT 
531.4 Hospital, and 9 Aug 45, OCT 5 1 1 Starke Gen 



which usually held some accommodations 
in reserve. Unfortunately, this procedure 
did not fully meet the need. The next step 
was a more formal arrangement between 
the Army and the railroads under which 
Class I patients — those requiring immedi- 
ate transportation — were certified in writ- 
ing by the responsible medical officers and 
the carriers designated special officers to 
deal with these cases. 195 

In June 1944 the Office of Defense 
Transportation, recognizing the difficul- 
ties of the situation, requested the Inter- 
state Commerce Commission (ICC) to 
direct the carriers to cancel reservations 
and, if necessary, to require regular pas- 
sengers to vacate accommodations that 
were needed for patients of the armed 
forces and the merchant marine. 196 The 
ICC service order that was issued in re- 
sponse to this request specifically named 
the railroad passenger agents and the 
train conductors concerned with each case 
as its agents for enforcing the priority 
arrangement. The Chief of Transportation 
refused to recognize a narrow interpreta- 
tion of this order and maintained that, 
when the necessity of evicting regular pas- 
sengers was certified by an authorized 
Army officer, all agents of the carriers, 
including the Military Transportation 
Section, were obligated to take any action 
within their competence to obtain the 
desired accommodations. 197 Both the 
Chief of Transportation and the railroads 
agreed, however, that eviction should be 
resorted to only when other means of 
accommodating patients had failed, and 
in practice such evictions were rarely 

Providing meals for patients traveling on 
regular trains was a problem for the rail- 

roads from the beginning of heavy move- 
ments. One of the reasons was that there 
were not sufficient dining cars for all such 
trains. When large movements were 
started from ports and general hospitals 
in hospital trains, dining cars — or medical 
kitchen cars after they became available — 
were assigned, but frequently these trains 
were broken up en route and the cars 
bearing patients were attached to a num- 
ber of regular trains for the onward jour- 
ney. If the regular trains did not custom- 
arily carry diners, the railroads were 
confronted with two alternatives: they 
could attach special diners, which was dif- 
ficult because of their scarcity, or they 
could serve box meals, which The Surgeon 
General did not consider satisfactory for 
patients. 198 

In trying to solve the problem, the 
railroads requested the Chief of Transpor- 
tation to notify them at the time hospital 
movements were routed of the specific 
trains for which they would be expected 
to provide dining cars. The Chief of Trans- 
portation did not feel that this was neces- 
sary and took the position that, when a 
route had been established showing the 
initial, intermediate, and terminal carriers, 
he had done all that he reasonably could 
to forewarn the railroads, and that the 
responsibility for meeting dining car re- 

195 WD Cir 234, 12 Jun 44; WD Cir 405, 14 Oct 
44; OCT HB Monograph 20, pp. 63-67. 

i9« ODT, Civilian War Transport, p. 84; Ltr, ODT 
to CofT, 19 Jun 44, and reply, 20 Jun 44, OCT HB 
Traf Contl Div Pass; ICC Sv Order 213, effective 27 
Jun 44; WD Cir 405, 14 Oct 44, par. 5, 

L97 Memo, Gass for Morris, 7 Oct 44, and reply, 10 
Oct 44, OCT 510 Patients. 

198 Memo, MTS for Mclntyre, OCT, 7 Apr 44, 
OCT 453.9 Hosp Cars; Memo, IMC for CofT, 18 
Sep 44, and reply, 27 Sep 44, OCT 531.7 Train 



quirements then rested with the carriers. 
It was the consideration of this problem, 
as well as the preference for meals pre- 
pared under medical supervision over 
those served from regular dining cars, that 
led to the inclusion of buffet kitchens in 
the 200 new hospital cars built by the 
Army and the eventual installation of 
buffet kitchens in the converted cars. 199 

Hospital cars and hospital trains were 
staffed by the service commands to which 
they were assigned, and the instructions 
regarding the composition and responsibil- 
ities of the medical staffs were issued by 
those commands, subject to the approval 
of The Surgeon General. 200 A senior med- 
ical officer, who had over-all responsibility 
for administration, messing, discipline, 
sanitation, and care of patients, was in 
charge of each hospital train. The grades 
and numbers of medical personnel on 
hospital cars moving in regular train serv- 
ice depended on the type of patients and 
the length of the journey. Close co-ordina- 
tion obviously was necessary between the 
service command personnel and the Medi- 
cal Corps and Transportation Corps offi- 
cers in Washington and at the ports who 
were concerned with the movement of 
patients. In anticipation of heavy evacu- 
ation from overseas, meetings of such offi- 
cers were held on the east and west coasts 
in 1945 to discuss problems and to review 
and refine the procedures.- 01 

Data are available only for patients 
routed by the Office of the Chief of Trans- 
portation. Throughout the war individ- 
uals and small groups were routed locally, 
and during the early part of the war some 
larger groups were so routed. The first 
recorded routings by the OCT were for 
the month of December 1942, when the 
groups totaled 375 patients and attend- 

ants. During the next four years the totals 
were as follows: 202 

Patients and 

Tear Attendants 

1943 85,705 

1944 165,121 

1945 440,864 

1946 50,767 

The peak month was May 1945, when 
concentrated efforts were being made to 
evacuate the sick and wounded from the 
European theater, and in that month 
more than 58,000 patients and attendants 
were routed by rail. 

The demand for cars to transport pa- 
tients was heavy not only because of the 
number of patients to be moved but also 
because of the length of the journeys. The 
long trips resulted from the necessity of 
sending patients to distant hospitals for 
specialized treatment and the policy of 
placing patients in hospitals as near their 
homes as possible. Patients landed at west 
coast ports were likely to make especially 
long trips because the majority of the hos- 
pitals were in the east. In planning patient 
movements and the utilization of hospital 
cars, The Surgeon General and the Chief 
of Transportation naturally gave atten- 
tion to shortening the trips whenever pos- 

™ WD Cir 480, 22 Dec 44, Sec. I, gave compre- 
hensive instructions regarding subsistence on Army 
hospital cars and trains. 

2m See Ltr, Col Edgar S. Linthicum, 1st SvG, to Col 
Harry D. Offutt, SGO, 22 Jul 43, and atchd SOP, 
OCT 531.4 Hospital. 

2111 Hospital Train Conf, Miller Field, New York, 
15-18 Feb 45; Hospital Train Unit Commanders 
Conf, San Francisco, Calif., 10-13 July 45; both in 
Hist Div SGO. During repatriation Navy patients 
were transported in Army hospital cars in emergen- 
cies, and railroad cars with Navy patients were at- 
tached to Army hospital trains. For procedures, see 
ASF Cir 441, 1 1 Dec 45, Sec. V. 

Data from reports prepared by Transport Eco- 
nomics Section, Traffic Control Division, OCT, com- 
piled for publication in a statistical volume of this 
series, now in preparation. 



sible and reducing deadhead mileage. 
Incident to the study of the transportation 
of patients from the ports to hospitals of 
definitive treatment during the latter part 
of the war, the following data were com- 
piled on the utilization of rail equipment 
in such movements: 203 

Number of 
Round Trips 

Average Miles 

Per Car 

Debarkation Port 

Per Trip 





New York 



Hampton Roads 






Los Angeles ......... 



San Francisco 





In reviewing the Army's experience 
with the movement of patients by rail 
during the war, two facts are noteworthy 
from the standpoint of the Chief of Trans- 
portation. First, although such movements 
were accomplished without serious delay 
or inconvenience, the situation would 
have been improved by earlier decision as 
to the number of hospital cars to be pro- 
cured. The Pullman cars used when hos- 
pital cars were not available were not as 
satisfactory as the hospital cars from the 
medical standpoint, and they had to be 
taken out of other services where they 
were constantly needed. The last 100 hos- 
pital cars were not ordered until January 
1945, and some of them had not yet en- 
tered service when the war ended. The 
delay was occasioned chiefly by the diffi- 
culty of estimating the extent of battle 
casualties and the incidence of disease in 
a war being waged in many widely scat- 
tered areas and under a great variety of 
conditions. Uncertainty concerning the 
evacuation policy on removal of patients 
from the theaters to the zone of interior 
was another factor in the delay. Second, 

the original plan of delegating a large 
measure of authority to the service com- 
mands for routing groups of patients and 
for utilizing hospital cars and regular rail- 
road equipment proved unsatisfactory. 
The Chief of Transportation's authority in 
these matters was therefore considerably 
broadened as the traffic became heavier. 
Thus the experience with the movement 
of patients confirmed the position that the 
Chief of Transportation had consistently 
taken with respect to troop movements — 
that centralized control was necessary in 
order to obtain the most efficient utiliza- 
tion of equipment and a proper distribu- 
tion of traffic. 

Prisoners of War and Enemy Aliens 

The transportation of more than 400,- 
000 prisoners of war (POW's), evacuated 
from the theaters to the zone of interior, 
was an unwelcome responsibility added to 
those already resting on the Chief of 
Transportation and the railroads. This 
traffic was difficult to handle not only be- 
cause of the over-all shortage of passenger 
equipment, but because security require- 
ments dictated that prisoners of war be 
removed from the seaboard areas as 
promptly as possible; ship arrivals could 
not be predicted precisely; advance infor- 
mation regarding the size and composi- 
tion of POW shipments was sometimes 
inadequate or inaccurate; the railway cars 
used for handling this traffic had to be 
specially prepared for the purpose; and 
the internment camps were scattered 
throughout the country. When large 

- ' History, Medical Liaison Office to OCT and 
Medical Regulating Service SGO, section on hospital 
trains, in OCT HB Mvmts Div Med Reg Sv, cited 
hereafter as Hist Med Liaison Off. The period to 
which the data apply is not stated, but the context 
indicates the latter part of the war. 



groups of prisoners of war arrived at U.S. 
ports, the railroads were hard put to meet 
the requirements for equipment in addi- 
tion to the other demands regularly made 
on them, and it was sometimes necessary 
to delay other military movements of low 
priority in order to move prisoners of war 
to internment camps without delay. 201 

Prisoners of war received in the United 
States were mostly Germans and Italians 
captured in North Africa and in Europe. 
At the end of May 1945 there were 37 1 ,- 
000 Germans and 50,000 Italians in our 
internment camps, while at the end of the 
hostilities in the Pacific there were only 
5,400 Japanese prisoners of war in the 
United States. 205 The burden, therefore, 
fell largely upon the eastern ports and the 
eastern rail lines. In 1943, when the han- 
dling of POW's from the Mediterranean 
was adversely affecting military move- 
ments along the Atlantic seaboard, the 
War Department considered the advis- 
ability of setting up staging areas near the 
ports for the temporary detention of new 
arrivals, in order that the flow from the 
ports to the internment camps might be 
leveled off and the carriers relieved of the 
necessity of assigning so much equipment 
to this traffic at one time. The inadvis- 
ability of holding prisoners in heavily 
populated seaboard areas argued against 
the proposal, and sufficient success was 
achieved in co-ordinating the water and 
the land movements to cause the project 
to be dropped. 206 

The railroads still found this a difficult 
and undesirable traffic. In the fall of 1944, 
after wrestling with the problem for more 
than a year and with heavy additional 
shipments from Europe in prospect, the 
Association of American Railroads recom- 
mended that no further prisoners of war 

be brought to the United States. In re- 
sponse, General Gross was able to inform 
the AAR that the Army already had in- 
structed the European theater to that 
effect. 207 

The restraint was only temporary, how- 
ever, for in the spring of 1945 further 
large shipments of German prisoners were 
received. In the beginning the purpose of 
removing prisoners of war from the thea- 
ters was to relieve the theater commanders 
of the burden of housing, feeding, and 
guarding them, and this argument re- 
mained a strong one from the theater 
standpoint. As the war progressed, the 
growing labor shortage in the United 
States and the success with which POW's 
were being employed in industry and 
agriculture created another persuasive 
argument for bringing captured Germans 
to the zone of interior. 

From the time prisoners of war were 
placed aboard trains at the ports where 
they landed they were in the custody of 
the Provost Marshal General. His office 
and that of the Chief of Transportation 
kept in close touch regarding prospective 
arrivals at the ports and subsequent trans- 
fers. In matters affecting the inland trans- 
portation, internment, and employment 
of POW's, the Provost Marshal General's 
authority was largely delegated to the 
service commands. When groups of forty 
or more were to be transferred from ports 
or internment camps, the service com- 

20J Memo, Gass for Morris, 2 Sep 43, OCT 5 1 1 Rail 
and Motor Mvmts. 

- 05 PMGO monograph, Prisoner of War Opera- 
tions, Feb 46, pp. 31-35, copy in OCMH. This mono- 
graph covers many aspects of the subject that cannot 
be treated here. 

206 Ltr, SW to SN, 27 Sep 43, OSW 453 (9-8-43)(l). 

207 Ltr, Buford to Gross, 30 Oct 44, and reply, 1 
Nov 44, OCT HB Gross Rail. 



mands passed this information to the 
Chief of Transportation, who arranged for 
the railroads to execute the movements. 
When smaller groups were transferred, 
the transportation arrangements were 
made by the commanders of the ports or 
the internment camps from which the 
movements started. The service command 
in which a movement originated was re- 
sponsible for providing escorts, mess per- 
sonnel, and medical attendants, as well as 
for furnishing the supplies required by the 
prisoners en route. 208 

The utmost effort was made to move 
prisoners of war in special trains and spe- 
cial cars, rather than in regular train serv- 
ice where they might be brought in con- 
tact with the public. It frequently hap- 
pened that this was not possible because 
of the wide distribution of the internment 
camps. At the end of August 1945 there 
were about 155 base camps and over 500 
branch camps for prisoners of war located 
in forty-five states. The dispersion of 
camps was necessary to serve the many 
areas in which POW labor was used. 
Transfers between camps were numerous 
because of fluctuations in the demand for 
this type of labor, particularly the season- 
al demand for agricultural workers. 
Under an agreement between the War 
Department and the War Manpower 
Commission, all requests for the assign- 
ment of POW's to industrial or agricul- 
tural employment were channeled through 
the War Manpower Commission, which 
had a broad view of the labor situation 
throughout the nation. 209 

As with other types of passenger traffic, 
data are not available for prisoner-of-war 
movements routed in the field but only for 
groups for which transportation arrange- 
ments were made by the Traffic Control 

Division in the Office of the Chief of 
Transportation. From the time when 
prisoners began arriving in the United 
States from North Africa until the bulk of 
the repatriation movement was accom- 
plished, the annual totals of POW's and 
guards routed by the division were as 
follows: 210 

Tear POW's and Guards 
1942 (December only) 1,975 

1943 216,651 

1944 487,270 

1945 546,052 

1946 (Seven months) 378,298 

Prisoners of war were transported in 
the lowest-class transportation available — 
that is, coaches — except in certain cases. 
Generals were furnished accommodations 
in sleepers or parlor cars upon request of 
the Provost Marshal General to the serv- 
ice command making the transfer. Prison- 
ers who were physically or mentally 
disabled were moved in sleepers or hospi- 
tal cars. When it was more economical, 
because of the smallness of the group, to 
move prisoners of war in regular train 
service than to engage a special coach, 
they were accommodated in enclosed 
space (compartment, drawing room, and 
so forth) so that they could be more readi- 
ly guarded. 211 When sleepers were re- 
quired in special POW trains, tourist-class 
cars or troop sleepers were used; in regu- 

208 For summary of responsibilities, see ASF Memo 
S 580-1-43, 13 Jul 43, sub: SOP for Transfer of POW; 
see also instructions from the Provost Marshal Gen- 
eral to the service commands regarding numerous 
transfers in OCT 383.6 (1943). 

209 PMGO monograph, cited ln. 205| pp. 59, 102. 

210 Data from reports prepared by Transport Eco- 
nomics Section, Traffic Control Division, OCT, com- 
piled for a statistical volume of this series, now in 

al1 WD Cir 47 1, 15 Dec 44; WD Cir 222, 23 Jul 45. 



lar trains they might be standard, tourist, 
or troop sleepers. When a special car for 
prisoners of war was included in a regular 
train, it was placed ahead of other cars so 
that there would be no contact between 
prisoners and other passengers. 

The coaches in which prisoners of war 
were transported were specially prepared 
for this service by the railroads in accord- 
ance with instructions issued by the War 
Department. 212 Such cars were to contain 
no partitions that would obstruct the view 
of the guard in one vestibule to the guard 
in the vestibule at the other end. The 
doors of washrooms and other enclosures 
were to be removed, and windows were to 
be blocked to prevent their being open 
more than eight inches. 213 Cabinets con- 
taining fire-fighting equipment were to be 
covered. As further safeguards the officers 
arranging transfers were directed to notify 
the railroads that the movements should 
be expedited in every way possible, and 
the railroads were requested to notify the 
train commanders in advance of any 
known or probable stops. The Chief of 
Transportation consummated agreements 
with the carriers covering charges for the 
preparation and restoration of cars for the 
transfer of POW's and charges for trans- 
portation and sleeping car accommoda- 
tions. 214 Specially prepared cars were not 
required for the transfer of captured 
Italians who had volunteered to join 
Italian Service Units and hence had 
acquired a special status. 215 

Despite the effort made to consolidate 
small movements of prisoners of war into 
carloads so as to avoid the use of enclosed 
spaces in regular cars, there was public 
criticism of any use of superior accommo- 
dations for such passengers. In July 1945, 
following a much publicized incident in 

which U.S. soldiers making a long trip in 
coaches were reported to have passed a 
sleeper in which prisoners of war were ac- 
commodated, Army Service Forces head- 
quarters issued instructions that thereafter 
the transportation of prisoners of war 
would be confined to day coaches, except 
in the case of litter patients, and that 
motor transportation should be used to 
transport prisoners within service com- 
mands to permit consolidation of small 
movements into carload shipments. 216 

The Army arranged for some move- 
ments of enemy aliens — that is, citizens of 
enemy countries residing in the United 
States when the war began — but they 
were not extensive. The largest movement 
of that nature was the evacuation of per- 
sons of Japanese ancestry from strategic 
areas on the Pacific coast, pursuant to 
Executive Order 9066, 19 February 1942. 
Approximately 110,000 Japanese and 
Japanese-Americans were moved in trains 
and bus convoys from exclusion areas to 
nearby assembly centers, and thence to 
relocation centers farther inland. The 
Chief of Transportation arranged with the 
carriers for the initial movements, but this 
function was soon taken over by the West- 
ern Defense Command, which had gen- 
eral charge of the relocation project. 

2,2 WD Cir420, 26 Oct 44. 

213 Windows of Pullman cars and Army hospital 
cars transporting POW patients were not blocked 
unless the service commander specifically requested 
it; see Ltr, Maj Darrell T. Lane, OCT, to Gass, 5 Feb 
45, OCT 383.6 Special Preparation of Cars. 

2,4 WD Memo 55-38-43, 21 Aug 43, sub: Trans of 
POW; WD CTB 6, 27 Jun 44, par. 10. 

215 WD Cir 195, 18 May 44, Sec. VI. 

216 Memo, DCofS for SvCs ASF for PMG, CofT, el 
at., 9 Jul 45, OCT HB Traf Contl Div Pass. Further 
details regarding this incident are given in 

Ch. Ill, 



Throughout the operation Lt. Col. Victor 
E. Maston of the Traffic Control Division 
was detailed by the Chief of Transporta- 
tion to the Western Defense Command to 
advise Lt. Gen. John L. DeWitt on trans- 
portation matters. 217 

The Chief of Transportation and the 
railroads would have welcomed relief 
from the necessity of moving prisoners of 
war. The policy of evacuating such prison- 
ers from the North African, Mediterra- 
nean, and European theaters was dictated 
by other considerations, however, and 
transportation had to be provided even 
though this increased the general strin- 
gency in railroad equipment. After proce- 
dures had been established and tested, 
POW movements were accomplished 
without difficulty beyond that incident to 
the provision of the necessary railroad 
equipment. There were only a few threats 
of disturbance by prisoners being trans- 
ported, and they were quickly quieted by 
the guards. 

A Job Well Done 

Although Army traffic on the common 
carriers included several other types of 
passengers, the movement of troops was 
the basic responsibility. This responsibil- 
ity was carried out far better in World 
War II than in World War I, despite the 
fact that the military traffic was much 
greater and the railroads had fewer units 
of passenger equipment. Heavy troop 
movements between training stations and 
to the seaboard were for the most part 
handled in a prompt and orderly manner. 
There was no serious congestion at the in- 
land gateways or the ports of embarka- 
tion to tie up cars and waste their work 

potential. There were few instances of 
light loading with wasted car space. The 
results, in brief, gave evidence of careful 
planning and a close control over oper- 

Credit for this achievement belongs to 
both the carriers and the Army. The 
Association of American Railroads, estab- 
lished in 1934, had a much broader in- 
fluence over the distribution and utiliza- 
tion of railway equipment than the 
corresponding organization in World War 
I. The industry was therefore better inte- 
grated and more readily responsive to 
military needs. Although the railroads 
had fewer units of equipment than in the 
previous war, those units were larger and 
capable of more work. The Army also had 
centralized control from the beginning 
over the routing and movement of all but 
the smaller groups and so was in a posi- 
tion to plan its traffic carefully on a na- 
tionwide basis and to spread the load. The 
hand-in-glove manner in which the Army 
Transportation Corps and the Associa- 
tion of American Railroads collaborated 
in both the planning and execution of 
troop movements indicated that they re- 
garded these movements as joint under- 

This does not imply that the Chief of 
Transportation and his staff were always 
satisfied with what the carriers did or the 
way in which they did it. These officers 
believed that the railroads sometimes held 
equipment in regular service when it 
should have been made available for mili- 
tary movements. They protested because 
the Pullman Company failed to withdraw 

217 For full account of this evacuation, see General 
De Witt's final report to the Secretary of War, Japanese 
Evacuation from the West Coast, 1942 (Washington, 
1943), pp. vii-x, 77-79, 356-62. 



more sleepers from overnight commercial 
runs, with the result that many soldiers 
made long trips in coaches. They com- 
plained because at times the carriers ap- 
peared negligent in allowing troop trains 
to fall behind schedule. They also believed 
that the railroads should have given the 
Army greater fare reductions and other 
concessions, in view of the volume of the 
military traffic. But despite these criti- 
cisms, the Chief of Transportation and his 
associates recognized that in their over-all 
performance the railroads gave the Army 
excellent service, and they said so on 
numerous occasions. 

The reasons for the divergent views of 
the Chief of Transportation and the rail- 
roads were obvious and understandable. 
The Chief of Transportation had a single 
objective — to move troops according to 
War Department plans. The railroads' 
situation was not so simple. They recog- 
nized their obligation to meet the require- 
ments of the armed forces, but they also 
wanted to maintain their regular services 
as fully as possible. Because of this fact, 
and also because of the limitation on the 
construction of new railroad equipment 
and other operating difficulties that the 
carriers encountered during the war, it 
was inevitable that the service given the 
Army should have fallen short of the Chief 
of Transportation's expectations on some 
occasions. As to fares, the lean years 
through which the railroads had passed 
just before World War II undoubtedly 
strengthened their resistance to requests 
for larger concessions on wartime military 
traffic, and that was especially true of 
those lines whose revenues were already 
reduced by the land-grant deductions. 

With increases in railroad equipment 
and operating personnel severely limited 

by other wartime demands, the only way 
to relieve the pressure under which the 
railroads were working and to assure the 
armed forces that all troop movements 
would be executed as they desired was to 
further curtail the regular services. The 
Chief of Transportation believed that such 
curtailment should have been carried 
further than it was, and he made his 
opinion known to the Director of Defense 
Transportation, who had the requisite au- 
thority. A considerable percentage of the 
civilian travel was admittedly unneces- 
sary. But the Director of Defense Trans- 
portation evidently believed that the 
military needs were being adequately 
met, and it was not until the repatriation 
of troops from Europe was well under way 
that he yielded to requests for further cuts 
in the regular services. The additional 
problems that arose, after Japan had sur- 
rendered and the repatriation of troops 
from the Pacific had begun, involved the 
line-haul capacity of the western railroads, 
as well as the amount of equipment 
assigned to military service. 

It is noteworthy that in addition to his 
efforts to make effective arrangements for 
the movement of troops, patients, prison- 
ers of war, and other passengers who 
moved on War Department transporta- 
tion requests, the Chief of Transportation 
did much to ease the problems of military 
personnel who traveled as regular passen- 
gers while off duty. Such traffic was heavy, 
and the difficulties encountered in getting 
reservations and utilizing overcrowded 
trains had a direct bearing on soldier 
morale. The fact that the Chief of Trans- 
portation was willing to have railroad 
equipment assigned to the so-called mili- 
tary sleeping car lines, which were used 
by men on furlough or leave as well as in- 



dividuals traveling on official business, 
indicates the importance that the Army 
attached to this traffic, for there never was 
a time when the equipment could not 
have been used advantageously to accom- 
plish organized troop movements. 

The motor carriers moved a relatively 
small percentage of the total military pas- 
senger traffic, but they performed an es- 
sential service. Their capacity was limited 
when compared with that of the railroads, 
and they could not offer some of the fea- 

tures — notably sleeping and messing 
facilities — that were considered essential 
in moving large numbers of troops over 
long distances. But for the transportation 
of individuals and small groups over the 
shorter distances, the motor carriers had 
distinct advantages, and the Chief of 
Transportation saw to it that their services 
were used whenever they met the Army 
requirements. The movement of troops by 
motorbus had the added virtue of reliev- 
ing the hard-pressed railroads. 


Troop Movements 
to the Oversea Commands 

Since all combat areas were overseas, 
efficiency in the execution of transoceanic 
troop movements was of primary impor- 
tance to the military authorities. From 
that fact sprang the significance of the 
problems involved in such movements, 
and these problems were magnified by the 
proportions that the war assumed from 
the outset, far exceeding anything con- 
templated in prewar planning. 

Lack of preparation for heavy troop 
movements was evident from the day the 
Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and 
plunged the United States into a two- 
ocean war. The Army ports of embarka- 
tion on the west coast had neither the 
facilities nor the personnel required for 
the prompt and orderly transshipment of 
the troops and supplies that had to be 
rushed to our Pacific outposts. There were 
not enough ships to meet all requirements 
and a satisfactory procedure had not yet 
been worked out for allocating the na- 
tion's vessels to the uses for which the need 
was most urgent. Adequate arrangements 
had not yet been adopted by the Army 
and the Navy for the joint use of troop- 
ships and joint troop-priority lists. Within 
the Army itself the procedures governing 
the shipment of troops and their organ- 
izational equipment from home stations 

to the ports of embarkation had not yet 
been fully adapted to wartime require- 
ments. The procedures for handling troops 
at the port staging areas still needed 
refinement. Progress toward the solution 
of these and related problems had only 
begun when the Army installed a Chief of 
Transportation as the head of the new 
transportation service in March 1942. 

Ocean transportation entered vitally 
into military planning from the inception 
of each undertaking since it was a per- 
sistent limiting factor. When President 
Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Min- 
ister Winston S. Churchill were project- 
ing the broad lines of Allied strategy, they 
necessarily took into account the shipping 
resources that would likely be available. 
When the Combined Chiefs of Staff, the 
British-American military co-ordinating 
agency, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the 
corresponding agency for the United 
States, undertook to implement the stra- 
tegic plans with arrangements for the de- 
ployment of Allied military forces, the 
availability of sufficient troop and cargo 
vessels was a basic consideration. The 
Army's Chief of Transportation main- 
tained an active Planning Division, 
headed during the greater part of the war 
by Col. Marcus B. Stokes, Jr., and con- 



tributed heavily to the long-range esti- 
mates of shipping capability upon which 
such decisions turned. 1 

A number of transportation agencies 
were involved in the actual movement of 
troops to the theaters, and co-ordination 
was therefore one of the Chief of Trans- 
portation's major functions. The Army 
operated few vessels of its own and most 
troopships were obtained from the U.S. 
War Shipping Administration, the U.S. 
Navy, and the British Ministry of War 
Transport (BMWT). Troops were moved 
from their home stations to the seaboard 
by commercial carriers. The transship- 
ment of the men and their impedimenta 
from the inland to the ocean carriers took 
place at Army ports of embarkation, 
which were military stations under the 
direct supervision of the Chief of Trans- 
portation. Each phase of a movement had 
to be co-ordinated with every other phase, 
and each movement had to be kept in 
conformity with the general plan incor- 
porated in the movement order. The co- 
ordinating responsibility rested ultimately 
with the Assistant Chief of Transportation 
for Operations, General Wylie, and his 
deputy, Col. Richard D. Meyer. A large 
share of this responsibility was delegated 
to the Movements Division, which worked 
closely with the Operations Division of 
the General Staff, the appropriate ele- 
ments of ASF headquarters, the Traffic 
Control and Water Divisions in the Office 
of the Chief of Transportation, and the 
ports of embarkation. 2 

The ports of embarkation had a key 
role, as the ensuing discussion will show. 
Linking the inland and ocean carriers, 
they had to function with speed and pre- 
cision in order to avoid congestion, con- 
fusion, and delay. The port commanders 
specified the time when each movement 

should reach the seaboard. They provided 
accommodations for troops during periods 
ranging from a few days to a few weeks, 
and during this interval gave both the 
men and their personal equipment a 
thorough processing to prepare them for 
service overseas. They stored, processed, 
and repaired organizational equipment 
before dispatching it to the theaters. They 
were responsible for the prompt and 
orderly embarkation of troops and for the 
proper equipping, staffing, and adminis- 
tration of troopships. The Chief of Trans- 
portation recognized that the success of 
the entire troop movement program could 
be disrupted by failure at the ports of em- 
barkation, and he therefore selected the 
port commanders with care and kept their 
operations under close observation. 

While the Chief of Transportation was 
concerned principally with the movement 
of Army combat and service troops, other 
types of passengers were accommodated 
on the troopships. Naval personnel were 
moved on vessels sailing under Army con- 
trol, just as Army troops were moved on 
the Navy's vessels. Numerous special mis- 
sions, which were nonmilitary in nature 
but usually embraced both military and 
civilian personnel, were transported to 
oversea areas. Employees of contractors 
engaged in the construction of military 
facilities overseas sailed on Army trans- 
ports. Some military personnel of Allied 

1 Wardlow, The Transport ation Corps: Responsibilities, 
Organization, and Operations, |pp. 1 8-2 2,| discusses long- 
range planning. 

2 For more detailed description of the functions of 
the Movements Division and its relations with other 
offices, see OCT Pamphlet 1, Organizational Man- 
ual; Memo, Farr for Ocean Traffic Br, Water Div, 1 
Aug 44, sub: Projected Troop Moves; Min of Junior 
Officers' Meetings, 27 Sep 44, 4 and 1 1 Oct 44; and 
Memo, C of Mvmts Div for C of Hist Unit OCT, 20 
Jun 45, sub: History of Mvmts Div; last five in OCT 
HB Mvmts Div Gen. 



nations were moved on these vessels, and 
representatives of various American and 
Allied civilian agencies, including mem- 
bers of the diplomatic corps, were trans- 
ported under Army auspices. In 1944 the 
Army began to send prisoners of war back 
to their native lands, and soon after the 
fighting was over the Army transported 
dependents overseas to join military per- 
sonnel stationed there. 

Of a total of 7,639,491 persons em- 
barked by the Army from December 1941 
through December 1945, 7,157,966(93.7 
percent) were troops of the Army, 261,525 
were personnel of the U.S. Navy, and 
220,000 were in other categories. Of the 
last figure, 93,301 were prisoners of war 
shipped from the United States in 1944 
and 1945. 3 While the great bulk of this 
traffic moved from U.S. ports, some pas- 
sengers were embarked at Canadian ports. 

Categories of Troops Moved 

The troops transported to the theaters 
fell into several categories, each of which 
involved peculiar transportation prob- 
lems. First, there were troops moving as 
units (prescribed military organizations) 
or detachments therefrom. Second, there 
were replacements, or individual soldiers, 
needed by the theater commanders to re- 
place men lost from units because of 
battle casualties, sickness, accidents, or 
transfers. Third, there were fillers required 
by the theater commanders to complete 
the personnel of units that had been 
understrength when they were dispatched 
from the zone of interior. Fourth, there 
was rotational personnel, or soldiers trav- 
eling pursuant to the Army's policy that 
men* who had seen lengthy service 
abroad — especially those who had served 
in isolated or unhealthy areas — should be 
returned to the zone of interior and other 

personnel sent overseas to take their 
places. Finally, there were so-called tem- 
porary-duty groups that were returned to 
the United States for short periods and 
eventually sent back to their stations over- 
seas. The last category included men 
traveling on leave or furlough obtained 
for personal reasons and men sent back 
by their commanders for rest and recu- 

The troop units moved overseas ranged 
in size from divisions downward, and the 
problems encountered varied according 
to the size, type, and maturity of the or- 
ganization, as well as to the completeness 
of its training and equipment. The move- 
ment of a division, involving up to 14,000 
men and great quantities of materiel, re- 
quired meticulous planning and detailed 
supervision throughout. The most spec- 
tacular achievement in moving large units 
was the transfer of thirty-six divisions to 
Europe between August 1944 and Febru- 
ary 1945. Twenty-five were infantry divi- 
sions, nine were armored divisions, and 
two were airborne divisions. These organ- 
izations, aggregating 458,416 officers and 
men, were embarked at the New York 
and Boston Ports of Embarkation in 126 
troopships, using most but not all of the 
space. Their organic equipment and ini- 
tial supplies totaled more than 1,500,000 
measurement tons and required the major 
part of the Capacity of 260 large cargo 
vessels. 4 The last two divisions, dispatched 

3 Figures for the period December 1941 through 
December 1944 are from ASF Statistical Review, World 
Warll (Washington, 1946), pp. 121-22; figures for 
1945 are from reports by the ports of embarkation to 
Movements Division, OCT, all reworked for statis- 
tical volume of this series, now in preparation. 

4 Summary, Divisions — ETO, prepared by Maj 
Welman H. Ouderkirk, Mvmts Div OCT, 30 Jun 45, 
in binder, European Divisions, OCT HB Mvmts Div 
Gen. See also Rad, SHAEF London to WD, 9 Aug 
44, S 57189, and Rad, Marshall to Eisenhower, 1 1 
Aug 44, WAR 79344. 



in February 1945, had been earmarked for 
the Pacific, but when plans were changed 
they were rushed across the United States 
by rail and embarked at New York on fast 
ships to bolster General of the Army 
Dwight D. Eisenhower's forces in the final 
drive against Germany. 5 

During the early part of 1943, replace- 
ments and fillers constituted about 20 per- 
cent of the total outbound troop move- 
ment, but beginning in the fall of that 
year the percentage showed a marked in- 
crease. 6 The number of replacements sent 
to Europe during the heavy fighting that 
followed the invasion of the Continent 
raised this traffic to a new high level in 
July 1944. That level was exceeded, how- 
ever, during the following winter. Decem- 
ber 1944 found General Eisenhower's 
combat divisions badly depleted, and the 
German counteroffensive in the Ardennes 
brought the situation to a crisis. Expedited 
movements were arranged from replace- 
ment training centers and replacement 
depots to the ports; the troops were em- 
barked without delay and upon arrival at 
French ports were entrained immediately 
for the advanced areas. In January 1945, 
replacements and fillers constituted more 
than 40 percent of the total troop move- 
ment to the theaters. In March, when the 
movement of units to the European Thea- 
ter of Operations, U.S. Army (ETOUSA), 
had been virtually stopped, replacements 
and fillers made up over 60 percent of the 
total. The effect of the impending German 
collapse on the proportion of troops 
shipped as units, fillers, and replacements, 
as well as the effect of the realignment of 
forces aft er the G erman surrender, is re- 

flected in Table 7 

cent — they were nevertheless a matter of 
concern to the Chief of Transportation. 
The more such passengers he had to ac- 
commodate on transports, the less space 
he had for units, replacements, and fillers. 
Early in the war General Gross urged that 
the rotational policy be kept within limits 
because of the tight shipping situation, 
and he continued to urge this point of 
view. 8 Late in 1943 the War Department 
presented to the Joint Chiefs of Staff a 
proposal for the conversion of twenty-four 
cargo vessels, in addition to those already 
being converted to troopships, to provide 
space for rotational traffic. This proposal 
was predicated on a policy of returning 
1 percent of the total troop strength each 
month from the South Pacific, the South- 
west Pacific, and the China-Burma-India 
theaters. TheJCS requested the Maritime 
Commission to convert sufficient vessels to 
provide 34,000 additional troop spaces. 9 
These vessels after conversion were ab- 
sorbed in the Army troopship pool; they 
were not operated exclusively for rota- 
tional troop traffic since that would have 
involved a waste of ship space. The rota- 
tional policy was also applied to other 

Although rotational personnel and 
temporary-duty groups never constituted 
a large percentage of the total outbound 
movement — usually well under 10 per- 

5 Biennial Report of the Chief of Staff of the United 
States Army, July 1, 1943 to June 30, 1945 (Washington, 
1 September 1945), p. 106. 

6 ASF MPR, Jul 44, Sec. 3, p. 30. 

' For a discussion of the replacement crisis in the 
ETO, see Report of Activities, Army Ground Forces, 
10 Jan 46, pp. 10, 11. Concerning the AG F's problem 
in providing replacements, see Kent Roberts Green- 
field, Robert R. Palmer, and Bell I. Wiley, The Or- 
ganization of Ground Combat Troops, UNITED 
ton, 1947) pp. 246-51, and Maj William R. Keast, 
Provision of Enlisted Replacements, Study 7, Histor- 
ical Section AGF, 1946, pp. 16-19, 28-36. 

8 Memo, Gross for C of Pers Div SOS, 22 Mar 42, 
sub: Regular Relief of Pers at Oversea Sta, OCT HB 
Wylie Staybacks; Memo, Gross for Somervell, 22 Jun 
44, ASF Hq Shipping 1944. 

a JCS 595, 2 Dec 43, and subsequent reports and 
correspondence; Ltr, JCS to Mar Com, 22 Mar 44; all 
in OPD ABC 322 (2 Dec 42). 



Table 7 — Classification of Troops Embarked at U.S. Ports of Embarkation fob 
Oversea Commands: May 1944-December 1945 

Month and Year 

Total Troops 









72, 369 

17, 228 

14, 972 

2, 148 

174, 095 

86, 502 

66, 924 



2, 276 


269, 384 

155, 774 


16, 339 


2, 181 

238, 160 

156, 148 


16, 039 



235, 115 

164, 830 

46, 021 




268, 858 

210, 419 

31, 713 


11, 860 


234, 568 


46, 649 




225, 020 

139, 686 


12, 151 

14, 043 

4, 734 


278, 852 

144, 967 

104, 528 

8, 055 


6, 885 

225, 562 

119, 047 

74, 880 

8, 626 

11, 723 

11, 286 


54, 118 


10, 496 

11, 106 

7, 622 

134, 803 


70, 698 


9, 632 

9, 132 


22, 385 

50, 493 

8, 567 




47, 589 

29, 423 


7, 428 



79, 619 

22, 721 





158, 843 


68, 565 

41, 329 

1, 159 




36, 546 

19, 674 



79, 209 



15, 848 



67, 780 


36, 324 

29, 639 



47, 423 


20, 543 

22, 948 

2, 745 


Source: Data based on reports from ports of embarkation to Movements Division, OCT, compiled for publication in statistical volume 
of this series, now in preparation. A breakdown for earlier months is not available. 

theaters. Initially the number of men re- 
turned to the zone of interior had depend- 
ed on the requests of theater commanders 
and the availability of transportation to 
move replacements, but later the War 
Department established monthly quotas. 10 
The problem of moving personnel to 
oversea areas was always accompanied by 
the problem of moving equipment and 
supplies. Troop units had to have their 
organizational equipment and initial sup- 
plies when they arrived in the theater or 
they were virtually useless. Thereafter a 
steady flow of maintenance supplies was 
necessary so that the men would be prop- 

erly fed and clothed and adequately pro- 
vided with ammunition and other 
expendable military items. Early in the 
war it was recognized that the maximum 
force that could be sent to a particular 
theater was the force the War Depart- 
ment could confidently expect to main- 
tain there." This doctrine, which was the 

10 Unnumbered WD Cir, 28 Jun 43, sub: Rotation 
and Return of Mil Pers as Individuals; Rad, OPD to 
SWPA and SOP AC, 12 Nov 43, CM-OUT 5527, 
paraphrase in OCT 000-370.5 POA; WD Cir 58, 9 
Feb 44; WD Cir 8, 6 Jan 45. 

"Memo, Gross for Somervell, 21 Dec 41, sub: 
Estimate of Shipping Available, p. 4, OCT HB Gross 
Day File. 



Table 8 — Percentage of Troops Embarked From U.S. Ports in Vessels Under 
British and U.S. Control: May 1944-December 1945 

Operating Arrangement 

December 1944 













19. 1 

0. 1 



11. 1 

Sqwh: Movements Division. OCT, Outbound Classification Summary, Pt. A, reworked for publication in a statistical volume for this 
series, now in preparation. Data for earlier period not available. 

opposite of that followed in sending the 
American Expeditionary Forces to France 
in 1917-18, developed logically from the 
fact that troops in most oversea areas 
would have to be equipped and supplied 
entirely or almost entirely from the zone 
of interior and that shipping would be a 
limiting factor. A corollary of this doc- 
trine was the necessity of maintaining a 
balance between troopship capacity and 
cargo-ship capacity — a matter that re- 
quired the constant attention of the Chief 
of Transportation. 1 2 

The larger units naturally presented a 
greater challenge from the standpoint of 
providing adequate facilities for their 
movement, of maintaining the integrity of 
the organizations en route, and of deliv- 
ering the troops and their equipment 
overseas at the times and places that would 
permit them to be brought together with- 
out great delay. From the standpoint of 
administration and control, however, the 
smaller units and detachments and the 
replacements and other individuals travel- 
ing in temporary groups posed a greater 

variety of problems for the Transportation 
Corps because of their less adequate or- 
ganization and leadership. 13 

Troopships and Sailing Schedules 

The ships used in transporting Army 
personnel to the theaters were obtained 
from various sources and were operated 
by various agencies. Broadly speaking, 
they were under either American or Brit- 
ish control. The British group, which in- 
cluded many vessels under the registry of 
other friendly nations, was integrated into 
one fleet under the operational control of 
the British Ministry of War Transport. 
The operating arrangements relating to 
the vessels of the American group, which 
also included some of foreign registry, 
cannot be so simply stated. Table 8 shows 
the several types of operating arrange- 
ments and the percentage of troops em- 

12 Wardlow, op. ttt. Jpp. 161-62. 

13 These problems will be discussed later in this 
chapter in the sections, Troop Staging at the Ports, 
Embarkation Procedures, and Troop Ship Adminis- 



barked at U.S. ports on vessels of each 
category during the latter part of the war. 

The vessels on which American troops 
were moved to the theaters were of many 
types, for the extreme need of troop lift 
necessitated the use of all available pas- 
senger ships and many freighters. An im- 
portant element of the troopship fleet 
consisted of the prewar passenger liners 
that had been requisitioned and converted 
to increase their capacities. Notable 
among these vessels were the British liners 
Aquitania, Britannic, Empress of Scotland, 
Mauretania, Queen Elizabeth, and Queen 
Mary; the French liners He de France and 
Pasteur; the Dutch liner Nieuw Amsterdam; 
and the American ships Argentina, Brazil, 
Edmund B. Alexander, George Washington, 
Hermitage, Matsonia, Monterey, Monticello, 
Mount Vernon, President Coolidge, Uruguay, 
Wakefield, and West Point. Two of the 
American vessels, the Army transports 
Edmund B. Alexander and George Washington, 
were built before World War I and car- 
ried many U.S. troops to Europe in 1917— 
18, but they also served well in World War 
II after extensive reconditioning. All of 
the above foreign-flag vessels and some of 
those of American registry had sufficient 
speed to enable them to proceed inde- 
pendently of convoys. The troop capac- 
ities ranged from about 2,000 to 15,000 — 
the latter number being the capacity of 
the "Queens" in favorable weather. 14 

Only a limited number of ships de- 
signed expressly as passenger carriers was 
built during the war because of the length 
of time required for construction; instead, 
a policy of converting the more quickly 
constructed cargo types to troopships was 
followed. Nineteen vessels of the U.S. 
Maritime Commission's wartime passen- 
ger design (P-2) were completed, named 
after generals and admirals, and operated 

by the Navy on Army schedules. These 
were vessels of about 17,800 gross tons and 
19 knots speed, with accommodations for 
well over 5,000 troops. Thirty of the Mari- 
time Commission's largest standard cargo 
type (C-4) were converted to troop car- 
riers and operated by the Navy on Army 
schedules. These vessels, also named after 
generals, were of about 13,000 gross tons 
and 17 knots speed and had troop capac- 
ities ranging from about 3,000 to 4,000. 
Cargo vessels of the other standard types 
(C-l, C-2, and C-3) were converted to 
troopships and operated by agents of the 
War Shipping Administration, mostly on 
Army schedules. Notable among such 
troopships were the "Marine" series 
(C-4's), the "Sea" series (C-3's), and the 
"Cape" series (C-l's). The principal war- 
time cargo design, the Liberty ship, also 
was used as a troop carrier to meet emer- 
gency requirements. 15 

While all luxuries and many comforts 
had to be omitted from vessels in wartime 
service in order to obtain the maximum 
troop capacity, the only type that gave 
rise to serious criticism was the converted 
Liberty. This was an emergency cargo 
type of 1 1 knots speed. It was designed for 
quick construction and the shipyards 
made deliveries rapidly. Accordingly, 
when it became necessary to move large 
numbers of prisoners of war from North 
Africa to the United States in the spring 
of 1943, the Army decided to install tem- 
porary facilities in about 250 Liberty ships 
and to use them for this purpose. Some 
were equipped to accommodate 300 pris- 
oners of war, and others 500. Late in the 

14 For a description of the ships and an account of 
their service, see Roland W. Charles, Troopships of 
World War II (Washington, 1947). On a few trips the 
Queens carried more than 15,000 troops. 

15 On cargo ship conversions, see Wardlow, op. cit., 
|pp. 300-301-1 



summer the need for additional troop lift 
to the Mediterranean became acute, and 
OPD authorized the use of these vessels 
to meet the situation with the understand- 
ing that the accommodations would be 
improved. 16 This action was subsequently 
brought before the Combined Chiefs of 
Staff and approved by that agency as an 
emergency measure. 17 

Many cargo ships normally had accom- 
modations for a limited number of pas- 
sengers and these were used whenever 
possible. 18 In the spring of 1942 British 
and American military representatives 
discussed this subject, and the Joint Mili- 
tary Transportation Committee initiated 
a proposal to install accommodations for 
fifty or more passengers on a large num- 
ber of the cargo vessels then being built, 
including Liberty ships. Execution of the 
proposal was delayed, however, because 
of the failure of the War Shipping Admin- 
istration, the Army, and the Navy to 
agree on plans and the WSA's insistence 
on having Presidential authority before 
undertaking such installations. The proj- 
ect was dropped in the summer of 1943, 
for by that time the program of convert- 
ing standard cargo vessels to troop carriers 
and of installing temporary passenger ac- 
commodations on Liberty ships had de- 
prived the earlier proposal of its impor- 
tance, 19 Nevertheless, all available 
passenger space on freighters of both the 
British and the American pools was used 
when required, and such space was par- 
ticularly valuable in moving reinforce- 
ments to the European theater during the 
critical winter of 1944-45. 20 

The transportation of troops on freight- 
ers brought up the question of moving 
personnel and explosives on the same ves- 
sel. After a heavy loss of life in the sinking 
of a Liberty ship carrying both, large 

quantities of explosives were no longer 
placed in ships carrying troops, and the 
loading of small quantities was subject to 
the approval of the Operations Division 
of the War Department General Staff. 21 

The vessels converted to combat load- 
ers — attack transports (APA's) — for oper- 
ation by the Navy had troop occommoda- 
tions that, when utilized on voyages from 
U.S. ports to the theaters, added appre- 
ciably to the outbound troop lift. In order 
to utilize these accommodations to best 
advantage, the Army proposed late in 
1942 that combat loaders thereafter be 
assigned to particular operations by the 
JCS, rather than by the Navy, so that the 
Army would be informed regarding their 
movements. 22 In accepting this proposal, 
the Navy stated that it had always ob- 
tained the concurrence of the Army before 
deciding upon the operation of combat 
loaders and pointed out that such vessels 

18 The problems that resulted f rom this mak eshift 
arrangement are discussed below, |pp. 145-4B.I 

" CCS 1 2 1st Mtg , 1 Oct 43. For further documen- 
tation, see notes | 1 79j and |1 HO j below. 

18 Memo, CofT for CGs of PEs, 10 Jun 42, sub: 
Maximum Utilization of Pass Space; Memo, CofT 
for CofS USA, 4 Sep 42, sub: Transport of Troops on 
Cargo Vessels; both in OCT 541.1 Small Groups. 

19 Ltr, Wylie to WSA, 30 Mar 42, OCT HB Wylie 
Stay backs; JMTC 8th Mtg, 23 Apr 42, and occasional 
mtgs through 34th Mtg, 25 Mar 43; Memo, Wylie for 
CofT, 18 May 42; Memo, Gross for Somervell, 2 Sep 
42; Memo, CofT for CofS USA, 4 Sep 42, sub: Con- 
version of WSA Cargo Ships to Carry 50 Troops or 
More; last three in OCT HB Gross Troops on Cargo 

20 Memo, CofT for ACofS OPD, 30 Jan 45, OCT 
HB Farr Staybacks; Memo, Maj Ouderkirk for Capt 
Robert L. Zellman, 1 1 Apr 45, par. 6, bound in 
Mvmts Div Hist, Mar 1945, OCT HB Mvmts Div 

21 Memo, Farr for Gross, 27 Apr 44, OCT HB Farr 
Staybacks; Memo, Gross for Somervell, 15 May 44, 
ASF Hq Trans 1944; Memo, CofT for OPD, 31 May 
44, sub: Pass Shipts on Cargo Vessels, OCT 370.5. 

22 Memo, CG SOS for CofS USA, 26 Nov 42, 
OPD 370 (3-6-42) Army Transports; JCS 158/2, 14 
Dec 42; JCS 46th Mtg, 15 Dec 42, Item 2. 

THREE TYPES OF TROOP TRANSPORTS. The James Parker, a converted 
prewar passenger liner ( top ); the Maritime Commission's P-2 type, designed and built as a 
troopship (middle); a naval transport, combat loaded for the assault on Sicily (bottom). 



were required by the Navy for amphibious 
training as well as for actual assault oper- 
ations. In September 1943 the Chief of 
Transportation, acting on a report that a 
combat loader had sailed from San Diego 
with naval personnel of low priority, in- 
structed the Army port commanders to 
make sure that the agreed arrangement 
was fully carried out at the ports under 
their respective jurisdictions. 23 The Army 
also sought to have any passenger space 
that might be available on aircraft car- 
riers, LST's (landing ships, tank), or other 
combatant vessels sailing from the United 
States utilized for personnel on the joint 
troop-priority list. 

With the variety of types of ships used 
in moving troops it would be interesting 
to know what percentage of the total 
movement traveled on vessels of various 
capacities. Unfortunately such an analysis 
is available only for the month of Decem- 
ber 1943, but that was a period of heavy 
outbound traffic and the data are there- 
fore significant. The total of over 273,000 
passengers (mostly troops) embarked on 
312 vessels was distributed as follows: 24 


Number of 

of Total 

Si& of Shipment 

Skips Used 





Up to 199 












5,000 and over 



The allocation of troopships to serve 
particular oversea areas depended on 
strategic decisions arrived at by the Presi- 
dent and the Prime Minister at their oc- 
casional conferences, by the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff when inter- Allied relations 
were involved, and by the Joint Chiefs of 

Staff when only the U.S. armed forces 
were concerned. The deployment of ship- 
ping to implement these strategic decisions 
was planned and supervised by the Com- 
bined Military Transportation Committee 
on the international level and by the Joint 
Military Transportation Committee on 
the American level. The allocation and 
reallocation of specific ships, however, 
were normally matters for direct dealing 
between the Office of the Chief of Trans- 
portation on the one hand and the Naval 
Transportation Service, or the War Ship- 
ping Administration, or the British Min- 
istry of War Transport on the other. 
Negotiations with the British usually re- 
sulted in quick understanding regarding 
the employment of troopships, and the 
rate attained in moving American soldiers 
to the European theater was possible only 
because of the use of the large British 
liners. Z5 The troopships operated by 
agents of the War Shipping Administra- 
tion were committed to military service 
and hence were deployed in accordance 
with decisions of the military authorities. 
The task of allocating and reallocating 
American troopships therefore rested 
largely with the Army and the Navy, and 
they sometimes found it difficult to agree. 

The basic cause of disagreement 
stemmed from the fact that the Navy's 
chief interest was in the Pacific, whereas 
the Army's principal effort was in the 
Mediterranean and European theaters. 
Under the Allies' plan of strategy the 
Mediterranean Theater of Operations 
(MTO) and the European Theater of Op- 

2:1 Min of Port Comdrs Conf, Boston, 30 Aug-1 Sep 
43, pp. 113-14, OCT HB PE Gen Port Comdrs Conf. 

" Memo, Finlay for Gross, 21 Feb 44, OCT HB 
Gross Troops on Cargo Ships. 

26 Agreement concerning the use of British ships be- 
came more difficult after V-E Day. On the general 
subject, see Wardlow, op. cit. \ pp. 220-27.] 



erations (ETO) were to have priority over 
the Pacific areas until Germany had been 
defeated. The disagreements, which were 
particularly acute with respect to the em- 
ployment of the large, fast troopships op- 
erated under charter by the Navy, came 
to a head in the late summer of 1943, 
when the Army protested vigorously 
against the unilateral action of the Navy 
in transferring certain of these vessels to 
the Pacific. 26 About this time it became 
necessary to decide upon the allocation of 
the new troop carriers then being con- 
structed by the Maritime Commission. As 
a result, the Joint Military Transporta- 
tion Committee appointed a troopship 
subcommittee consisting of representa- 
tives of the Office of the Chief of Trans- 
portation, the Naval Transportation 
Service, and the War Shipping Adminis- 
tration to assign transports by name to the 
various theaters and to major areas within 
the theaters. 27 The OCT representatives 
were General Wylie and Colonel Farr. 
Following the appointment of this sub- 
committee, allocations were made in a 
more orderly manner after careful study, 
and the problem itself was lessened some- 
what by the delivery of new troopships 
and the temporary conversion of Liberty 
ships to carry troops. Nevertheless, the 
differences between Army and Navy in- 
terests remained, and the difficulty of 
reaching agreement regarding the em- 
ployment of troopships was never entirely 
removed. 28 

The procedures for scheduling troop- 
ships—that is, fixing loading berths and 
sailing dates for specific voyages — were 
not the same in the Atlantic as in the 
Pacific. Since the Army's interest pre- 
dominated in areas served from U.S. At- 
lantic ports, sailings from those ports were 

scheduled by the Movements Division in 
the Office of the Chief of Transportation, 
subject to arrangements with the Convoy 
and Routing Section of the Navy Depart- 
ment and the policies of the British Min- 
istry of War Transport regarding vessels 
under its control. A different method was 
used in scheduling sailings from Pacific 
coast ports. There were a number of 
reasons for this — the large requirements 
of the Navy for troop lift, the length of the 
transpacific voyages, the frequent deten- 
tion of vessels overseas for intratheater 
operation, the unusual delays at home 
ports on account of repairs, the fact that 
most vessels sailed independently rather 
than in convoy, and the distance of Pacific 
coast ports from headquarters in Wash- 
ington. Because of these circumstances the 
troopships in the Pacific were considered 
a pool for the joint use of the Army and 
the Navy, and their utilization was gov- 
erned by joint committees with headquar- 
ters at San Francisco. This decentraliza- 
tion of control over troopships and troop 
movements was an expedient that the 
Chief of Transportation accepted reluc- 
tantly. 29 

Close collaboration between the Office 
of the Chief of Transportation and the 

28 Memo, Styer for Marshall, 9 Aug 43, sub: Em- 
ployment of Troop Lift in Atlantic and Pacific, OCS 
570; Memo, Meyer for CofT, 13 Sep 43, sub: Use of 
Navy-Controlled Unescortees in Atlantic, OCT HB 
Meyer Staybacks. 

21 Memo, Dir NTS for CofT, 18 Sep 43, sub: 
Transport Assignment to Ocean Areas, and reply, 28 
Sep 43; both in OCT HB Meyer Staybacks; JMTC- 
51st Mtg, 14 Oct 43, Item 2. 

28 Memo, Vice Adm Frederick J. Home for Lt Gen 
Joseph T. McNarnoy, 19 Nov 43, sub: Trans of Army 
Engineers to India, and related documents in OPD 
560 (24 Jan 44); Ltrs, Farr to Stokes, 19 and 21 Nov 
43 (Stokes was then attending the inter- Allied con- 
ference in Cairo); Memo, CofT for Brig Gen Carl A. 
Russell, OPD, 24 Aug 44; last three in OCT HB Farr 

29 See below, rpp~T61~62. | 



Operations Division of the War Depart- 
ment General Staff was essential to the 
co-ordination of ship movement and troop 
movement plans. On the basis of estimates 
of theater troop requirements obtained 
from OPD, corresponding data obtained 
from the Navy, and forecasts of troopships 
likely to be available, the Movements 
Division prepared a statement of the po- 
tential troop lift to each theater for each 
six -month period. A revised statement was 
prepared at the beginning of every 
month. 30 The OCT frequently indicated 
to OPD how adjustments could be made 
in the plans for troop movements to the 
respective theaters to make better use of 
the available vessels. 31 When emergency 
troop shipments were necessary, the OCT 
calculated how they could be accom- 
plished with the least disturbance to 
movement plans and ship schedules 
already set up. 32 

Changes in troop movement plans 
necessitating adjustments in shipping 
schedules created serious problems for the 
Chief of Transportation. Cargo-ship sched- 
ules as well as troopship programs often 
had to be adjusted. When such changes 
were occasioned by strategic developments 
or were ordered by the President as the 
result of top-level decisions or interna- 
tional agreements, there was no cure for 
the difficulty. But the Chief of Transpor- 
tation believed that the shuffling of move- 
ments by "higher echelons" of the War 
and Navy Departments went beyond that 
which was necessary and indicated a lack 
of foresight and a failure to appreciate the 
shipping problem involved. He also ob- 
jected to efforts by superior headquarters 
to have specific vessels assigned to specific 
movements or particular areas. This was 
a matter, he felt, that should be left 
entirely to the transportation organization 

if waste of troop lift was to be avoided. 33 
As the strategic situation became more 
stabilized and planning procedures were 
improved, changes in movement pro- 
grams were less frequent, but in view of 
the scope and nature of the war some such 
adjustments were inevitable. 

The Chief of Transportation believed 
that the obvious advantages of thorough 
co-ordination between troop movement 
plans, as developed by OPD, and troop- 
ship movements, as planned by his office, 
could best be accomplished by direct col- 
laboration between these offices. He 
therefore protested against any interven- 
tion by the Mobilization Division, ASF, 
and refused to allow that division to in- 
fluence his plans for the employment of 
vessels, which he believed to be based on 
the best available information and expert 
technical knowledge. The primary func- 
tion of the Mobilization Division was to 
co-ordinate supply and troop movements, 
and it was expected to follow develop- 
ments to insure that such movements were 
effectively executed. Close collaboration 
between the Chief of Transportation's staff 
and the Mobilization Division obviously 
was necessary, but General Gross con- 
sidered inadmissible any intrusion of the 

30 See Memo, CofT for OPD, 4 Apr 43, sub: Fore- 
cast of Shipping; Memo, CofT for OPD, 26 Nov 43, 
sub: Six-Month Requirements; both in OCT HB Farr 
Staybacks; Memo. CofT for Dir Plans and Opns ASF, 
8 Dec 44, and other dates, OCT 370.5. Copies of these 
statements were furnished to ASF headquarters as 
well as to OPD. 

31 Memo, CofT for OPD, 8 Jun 43, sub: Troop Lift 
to India, OCT 370.5 India; Memo, CofT for OPD, 
13 Nov 43, sub: Effect on Shipping of Proposed 
Movement to Pacific, OCT 000-370.5 POA. 

32 Memo, Wylie for Gross, 1 3 May 42, sub: Para- 
troopers, OCT 000-900 Queen Elizabeth. 

33 Memo, CofT for CofS for Opns SOS, 23 Jan 43, 
sub: Issuance of Mvmt Orders; Memo, CofT for Dir 
NTS, 10 Aug 43, sub: Troop Deployment Program; 
both in OCT HB Meyer Staybacks. 



Mobilization Division into transportation 
operations or into the relationship between 
the OCT and OPD. During 1943 there 
was sharp disagreement on the subject be- 
tween General Gross and General Lutes, 
Director of Operations, ASF, under whose 
direction the Mobilization Division func- 
tioned. General Gross did not relax his 
position, and General Lutes' proposal to 
establish a transportation co-ordination 
section in the Mobilization Division was 
not carried out. While opposing the exten- 
sion of the division's activities to transpor- 
tation, the Chief of Transportation gave it 
warm praise as a movements co-ordinat- 
ing agency. 34 

Since Colonel Farr as chief of the Move- 
ments Division had a central role in the 
effort to fit troop movement plans and 
ship movements neatly together, his views 
on the mission of the Chief of Transporta- 
tion in this matter are of interest. Fan- 
found that the several Army staff agencies 
concerned with programming oversea 
movements did not always agree, nor did 
the Army and the Navy. When these au- 
thorities were at odds on what troops should 
be moved, the Chief of Transportation felt 
that it was his duty to tell them what could 
be moved — that is, what deployment of 
troops would accomplish the most effec- 
tive use of the available troop lift. This 
procedure gave rise to the accusation that 
the Chief of Transportation was endeavor- 
ing to determine strategy. On the con- 
trary, Farr maintained, the Chief of Trans- 
portation's purpose was to serve the higher 
authorities of the War Department and 
the theater commanders, and the Chief of 
Transportation believed that he was per- 
forming such a service when he indicated 
how the limited shipping resources could 
be used to obtain maximum results. 35 

The need for getting the maximum 

service from troopships dictated a policy 
of turning them around at the ports as 
rapidly as possible. This policy was a ma- 
jor consideration with the Movements Di- 
vision in preparing schedules for the At- 
lantic. It frequently met with opposition 
from the operators of the vessels, who de- 
sired more time for repairing, storing, and 
fueling the ships, even though the pressure 
for delivery of troops to the theaters was a 
compelling argument. The Army ports of 
embarkation and the War Shipping Ad- 
ministration usually could be persuaded 
to accept the Movements Division's sched- 
ules with respect to the vessels under their 
control, but the Navy held more rigidly to 
its operating standards. The Movements 
Division, as has been stated, did not have 
the same control over the dispatch of 
vessels from west coast ports, and it often 
complained about the time taken to com- 
plete repairs on troopships employed in 
the Pacific. There were several explana- 
tions for the extensive lay-ups — the long 
periods that the ships spent away from 
their home ports, the lack of repair facili- 
ties at most ports in the Pacific areas, and 
the fact that west coast repair yards were 
heavily engaged with naval work of top 
priority — but their effect on the execution 
of planned troop movements is obvious. 36 

34 Memo, Lutes for CofT, 26 Mar 43, OPD 381 
(120-140); Memo, CofT for Lutes, 3 Apr 43, OCT 
HB Meyer Staybacks; ASF Cir 23, 28 Apr 43, sub: 
Troop Mvmt Co-ordinating Center; Memo, Lutes for 
CG ASF, 22 Oct 43; Memo, Finlay for Wylie, 26 Oct 
43; last two in OCT HB Ex Co-ordination with Staff 
Agencies ASF; ASF Adm Memo S-96, 20 Nov 43, 
sub: Mvmt Co-ordinating Center; Memo, Gross for 
Lutes, 1 6 Mar 44, OCT HB Mvmts Div Gen. 

35 Ltr, Farr to author, 15 Nov 49, OCT HB Mvmts 
Div Gen. 

36 Memo, Farr for Wylie, 1 6 Mar 45, sub: Utiliza- 
tion of Troopships, OCT HB Water Div Ship Repair 
and Conversion; Memo, CofT for Mil Pers Div ASF, 
13 May 45, OCT HB Mvmts Div Ouderkirk Stay- 
backs; Interv with Farr, 28 Apr 51, OCT HB Mvmts 
Div Gen; Wardlow, op. c;7,, |pp, 1H!PoT1 



The Movements Division kept account 
of the status of all vessels carrying or com- 
mitted to carry U.S. troops or their equip- 
ment. During the latter part of the war 
these records embraced upwards of a 
thousand troopships and freighters. A type 
of record was needed that would disclose 
at all times the locations of the vessels, 
their speeds and capacities, and their 
prospective sailing dates, destinations, and 
arrival dates. The first such record, known 
informally as "slipstick," was a set of flex- 
line sheets on which the vessels were posted 
according to routes or convoys. These 
sheets could be changed readily as new in- 
formation was received and photographed 
for distribution to all concerned as often as 
circumstances required. The effectiveness 
of this device as a basis for planning troop 
movements was dependent on the ade- 
quacy and the accuracy of the informa- 
tion received from the oversea com- 
mands. Time was required to bring thea- 
ter commanders to an appreciation of the 
need for this information, and advices 
concerning ship movements in the Pacific 
were inadequate during the greater part 
of the war. By early 1945, however, the 
receipt of ship movement reports had im- 
proved to a point that justified the erec- 
tion of an electrically controlled position 
board, which by the operation of switches 
could be made to show the location of a 
particular ship or the ships in a particular 
port. This visual aid was supplemented by 
a set of vessel cards giving full information 
on the ships themselves, their capacities, 
and their movements. The system, though 
not used until late in the war, proved of 
value in controlling the huge fleet on 
which troops were transported during the 
redeployment and repatriation periods. 37 

Although advance planning was neces- 
sarily tentative because of the constantly 

changing troop requirements and the un- 
certainty of ship movements, the Chief of 
Transportation considered it essential to 
his task of making the best possible use of 
the ships. One phase of this planning was 
the six-month estimate of troop lift on the 
several routes that was furnished by the 
Chief of Transportation to OPD and ASF 
headquarters. Beginning early in 1944 
these estimates, prepared under the super- 
vision of General Wylie, Assistant Chief of 
Transportation for Operations, were elab- 
orated in charts called transportation 
operational projections. The primary pur- 
pose of these projections was "to provide 
the key planning and operating personnel 
of the Transportation Corps with graphic 
data reflecting the future movement of 
troops and cargo between U.S. ports and 
oversea theaters, and with the measure of 
achievement in meeting forecasts." The 
basic charts showed for each theater, for 
each month of the past six months, the 
number of troops made ready to move 
during the month in accordance with 
theater priorities and the number carried 
forward as a backlog from the preceding 
month. The sum of these constituted the 
"effective target" for the month, against 
which were set the actual embarkations. 
A continuation of these charts reflected 
the estimated embarkations for each of the 
ensuing six months. Supplementary dia- 
grams were prepared to show the fluctua- 
tions in the advance estimates of troop 
requirements prepared by OPD, and how 

" Memo, Opns Div OCT for Water Div OCT, 4 
May 42, sub: Slipstick Plan, OCT HB Meyer Stay- 
backs; Ltr, Farr to CofT ETOUSA, 5 Oct 43; Memo, 
Lt Col Carl E. Berzelius, Mvmts Div OCT, for Wylie, 
16 Mar 45, sub: Problems in POA and SWPA; 
Memo, Farr for C of Contl Div OCT, 14 Jan 46; last 
three in OCT HB Farr Staybacks; Ltr, Farr to author, 
14 Feb 50, OCT HB Mvmts Div Gen. Copies of slip- 
stick in OCT HB Ex File. 



Chart 3 — Passengers Embarked Monthly by the Army at U.S. Ports for Oversea 
Destinations: December 1941-December 1945* 




A v 

** \ 
i * \ 

■ * i 

i ' 

A. ✓ 
fv. — / Ik 


v S i * \ 

< \ : 

■ i i 

. . i 

* * \ 

1 i III 

1 X/ i 
f ' 

* • I 1 

> '* 


i ■ 

\ ' 
i * 


v \ fl 

V | | 

■ \ 1 1 
' \ A ■ 

1 — V-Aa — 


/ \/ ; u .> 



1 * J 


I*— * 

, u v \ 

v \ / 

\ ft 


A , \ ' 
ft v ^ % 

' i i 

... / v 

— — V 

1-1 1 1 t 1 

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 



I I i I i T'l i 


p \ 

1 1 1 




1941 1942 1945 1944 



* Atlantic areas include North and Latin America, Greenland, Iceland, United Kingdom, continental Europe, Medi- 
terranean, Africa, ond the Middle East. Pacific areas include western Canada, Aloska, Central Pacific, South Pocific, 
Southwest Pacific, western Pacific, India, Burma, Japan, ond Korea. 

Source: Monthly reports by ports of embarkation to Movements Division, OCT, reworked for statistical volume of 
this series, now in preparation. 

actual embarkations compared with these 
estimated requirements and with the 
number of troops on the theater priority 
list that were ready to move. The charts 
gave the Office of the Chief of Transporta- 
tion a basis for studying the results of 
planning and operations during preceding 
months and for drawing conclusions for 
guidance in the future. There were similar 
charts for the shipment of Army cargo to 
the theaters. 38 

The growth of the Army's troop lift is 
illustrated by the fact that G-4, a few days 
after Pearl Harbor, estimated the capacity 
of the ships then available for Army troop 
service to be about 65,000 troops, whereas 

at the end of hostilities the troop capacity 
of the vessels serving the Army was ten 
times that figure. 39 The Army embarka- 
tions in December 1941 totaled 29,800 
passengers, while in January 1945, when 
the outbound movement reached a peak, 
295,100 were embarked. ( Chart 3 ) The in- 
crease was brought about through the ex- 
ploitation of all practicable means — in- 
creasing the capacity of existing passenger 
vessels, building new troopships, convert- 
ing cargo ships, using the limited pas- 

38 Copies of the transportation operational projec- 
tions for August and September 1 944 are in OCT HB 
Dir of Opns. 

39 Study, Trans Br G-4 WDGS, 1 Dec 4 1 , sub : 
Analysis of Passenger Shipping, OCT HB Gross Day 
File; ASF MPR, Aug 45, p. 50. 



senger accommodations on unconverted 
cargo ships, and employing British and 
other foreign troopships. Yet from the 
standpoint of the military authorities con- 
cerned with planning strategy, the troop 
lift never was large enough. The Chief of 
Transportation, moreover, repeatedly 
found that embarkations fell somewhat 
short of the target he had helped to set. 
The latter fact is explained chiefly by de- 
lay in the work of converting cargo ships 
on which the Chief of Transportation 
counted heavily in his planning. 40 The un- 
foreseen retention of vessels in the theaters 
and the extensive repairs required by 
vessels returning to U.S. ports, particu- 
larly those returning from long voyages in 
the Pacific, also upset the forecasts. 

The statement that the troop lift was 
never large enough requires some quali- 
fication with respect to the period from 
June 1944 onward. The build-up of forces 
in the United Kingdom for the invasion of 
the Continent, the pressure of the cam- 
paign in the Mediterranean, and the effort 
to increase troop strength in the Pacific 
and Asiatic theaters as rapidly as possible 
kept the demand for troop lift strong on 
both Atlantic and Pacific coasts until after 
the invasion of France had been launched. 
Then, because battle casualties and the 
demand for replacements were not as high 
as had been expected, the troop shipping 
situation in the North Atlantic became 
perceptibly easier. This made it possible to 
release some of the temporarily converted 
Liberty ships from troop service, to release 
part of the space on British ships, and to 
relax somewhat the practice of "overload- 
ing" transports — that is, loading them 
beyond the normal troop capacity. The 
troop lift deficit continued in the Pacific, 
but the Chief of Transportation decided 
against transferring vessels from the At- 

lantic because an early end of the war 
against Germany was anticipated and 
maximum capacity would then be re- 
quired for redeploying troops from Eu- 
rope. The decision was fortunate, because 
with the launching of the German coun- 
teroffensive in December 1944 the move- 
ment of troops to Europe again became 
heavy and all available space was re- 
quired. This stringency was soon over, 
however, and from February 1945 until 
redeployment began there was a surplus 
of troop lift in the Atlantic. The commit- 
ment of so many additional troops in Eu- 
rope in the winter of 1 944-45 reduced the 
number available for the Pacific and re- 
lieved somewhat the demand for troop lift 
at west coast ports. 41 

The Ports of Embarkation 

The long-range planning and the day- 
to-day adjustments in projected oversea 
troop movements and ship movements, 
which were accomplished in Washington, 
were carried into effect by the ports of 
embarkation. The port commanders con- 
trolled the movement of troops and their 
equipment from home stations to the sea- 
board, inspected and processed both 
troops and equipment to insure that they 
were ready for oversea service, prepared 

40 Wardlow, op. cit., pp, |207-08| |305-07| ; Memo, 
CofTfor PEs, 26 Aug 43, sub: Vessels Repair Info, 
and atchd rad to oversea commanders; Memo, Farr 
for Wylie, 4 Oct 43; last two inOCT HB Farr Stay- 
backs; Memo, Farr for Maj Gen John M. Franklin, 
14 Mar 44, OCT 564 Troop Transports. 

41 Memo, Somervell for Marshall, 22 Jun 44, sub: 
Ship Capabilities, ASF Hq Shipping 1944; Min of 
OCT Opns Mtg, 13 Jul 44, p. 3, OCT HB Dir of 
Opns; Memo, Farr for Wylie, 1 Aug 44, sub: Troop 
Mvmt Trends, OCT HB Farr Staybacks; Memo, 
Wylie for Somervell, 20 Dec 44, sub; Troop Trans- 
port Position, OCT HB Meyer Staybacks; Memo, 
Farr for Gross, 17 Jan 45, sub: Briefing; Memo, CofT 
for Traf Div AAF, 27 Feb 45; last two in OCT 370.5. 



Table 9 — Passengers Embarked by the Principal Army Ports: December 

1941-December 1945 a 



1941 (Decem- 
ber Only) 





7, 639, 491 

29, 839 

955, 302 

1, 871, 120 

3,072, 127 

1, 711,103 

768, 898 

26, 747 



169, 024 

New York 



421, 756 

910, 658 

1, 400, 486 

536, 710 

764, 839 

1, 135 


234, 872 

372, 368 

100, 975 

36, 654 

1, 981 

25, 556 





6, 172 

58, 139 


42, 470 

26, 801 

217, 886 



74, 782 

94, 746 

1, 745, 989 


289, 637 

456, 998 

534, 018 

450, 252 

579, 209 

2, 068 

75, 491 

49, 777 

178, 760 

273, 113 

47, 194 

47, 194 

31, 162 


12, 783 

12, 145 

5, 687 

* Figures include military personnel of the Army, Navy, and Allied nations, civilians, and prisoners of war. Embarkations by cargo 
ports and subports on the Atlantic and Gulf coast6 are combined with embarkations at the ports of embarkation to which they were sub- 
ordinate. When embarkations at these subordinate ports were reported separately, they are stated in footnotes, but such figures may not 
be complete. 

b Number of passengers embarked at Halifax, a subport of Boston, is not available. Boston wag a subport of New York until July 1942. 

* Includes 225 passengers embarked at the Philadelphia cargo port in 1943, and 250 in 1944. 

* Includes 295 passengers embarked at the Baltimore cargo port in 1942, 1,044 in 1943, 84 in 1944, and 11 in 1945. Hampton Roads 
was a subport of New York until June 1942. 

e Charleston was a subport of New York until January 1942. 

1 Includes 751 passengers embarked during 1942 at Miami, Key West, and Galveston. 
« Los Angeles was a subport of San Francisco until October 1943. 

*> Includes 17,048 passengers embarked at Portland, as a subport of San Francisco, through August 1944. 

' Includes 4,838 passengers embarked at Portland, as a subport of Seattle, September-December 1944. Seattle was a subport of San 
Francisco until January 1942. 

i See notes A and i concerning embarkations prior to 1945. Portland continued as a subport of Seattle during 1945, although its em- 
barkations are shown separately. 

k Prince Rupert was a subport of Seattle. 

Source: Monthly reports of ports of embarkations to Movements Division, OCT, reworked for statistical volume of this series, now in 

billeting plans for the transports, moved 
the troops from staging areas to shipside 
and embarked them, and provided for 
their comfort, control, and entertainment 
on board. 42 

Each port of embarkation was assigned 
primary responsibility for one or a few 
oversea areas, but also made shipments to 
other areas, so that the over- all pattern of 
movements was complex. Moreover, the 
port responsibilities were subject to ad- 
justment as conditions changed. In the 
latter part of the war the port of embarka- 

tion at Boston served the North Atlantic 
bases and northern Europe; New York 
was concerned principally with move- 
ments to northern Europe and the Medi- 
terranean; Hampton Roads shipped 
chiefly to Africa and the Mediterranean; 
Charleston embarked troops to various 
destinations but served principally as the 

42 AR 55-390, 16 Dec 42, par. 10, gives a broad 
outline of port commanders' duties. See also Memo, 
CG SOS for Dirs and Cs of Staff Divs, et al,, 1 Jul 42, 
sub: Procedures for Booking Individuals and Small 
Groups, OCT 541.1 Small Groups. 



Table 10 — Passengers Embarked by the Army for the Several Oversea Areas: 

December 1941-December 1945 * 

Destination Areas 



1 QAO 




All Areas 

7, 639, 491 

29, 839 

955, 302 

1, 871, 120 

3, 072, 127 

1,711, 103 

4, 791, 237 


522, 667 

1, 250, 275 

2, 179,319 

826, 289 

214, 026 

f 1, 243 

14, 601 

15, 326 

7, 512 

j 30, 564 

1 9,071 

74, 267 

32, 475 

28, 967 

102, 860 

491, 399 

Centra] Africa and Middle 

j 1, 116,047 

| 342, 615 

104, 918 

East • 

1 327 

41, 794 

32, 134 

3,461, 164 


289, 145 


1, 800, 225 

690, 807 

2, 848, 254 

17, 152 

432, 635 

620, 845 

892, 308 

884, 814 

250, 501 

2, 068 

82, 054 

100, 335 


19, 213 

J 1,213,684 

| 15,084 



| 398, 375 

380, 407 

South Pacific h 

1 o 

77, 936 

117, 088 

Southwest Pacific 1 . . . . 

1, 124, 868 

149, 494 

194, 286 


439, 522 

259, 201 


93, 642 

106, 036 

45, 672 

* The grouping into Atlantic and Pacific areaB indicates that the passengers were embarked mainly but not exclusively at Atlantic and 
Gulf ports or at Pacific ports. 

b Includes bases in Canada, Newfoundland, Greenland, and Bermuda. 

Includes Panama Canal Zone, Caribbean, South America, and South Atlantic. 
d Includes North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. 

■ Middle East includes Egypt, Red Sea, and Iran. 

* Includes Iceland, United Kingdom, and continental Europe. 

■ Includes Alaska and western Canada. 

h Central and South Pacific were combined into Pacific Ocean Areas in 1944. 

1 Includes embarkations for western Pacific, Japan, and Korea after those areas were occupied by U.S. forces, 
i Includes India, Burma, and China. 

Sourct: Monthly reports by ports of embarkation to Movements Division, OCT, reworked for statistical volume of this series, now in 

home port for Army hospital ships as- 
signed to the Atlantic; New Orleans han- 
dled troop traffic to the Panama Canal, 
Latin America, and the Pacific bases; 
San Francisco was a transshipment point 
for troops proceeding to all of the Pacific 
areas; Los Angeles served the Asiatic and 
Pacific theaters; and the Seattle Port of 
Embarkation was responsible for ship- 
ments to Alaska and western Canada and 
also served the Central Pacific. 43 The 
numbers of troops shipped from the sub- 
ports and the cargo ports, each of which 
functioned under the control of a port of 

embarkation, were relatively small. More 
than 45 percent of the passengers em- 
barked by the Army during the war pe- 
riod were destined for the European 
theater, and more than 42 percent were 
embarked under the jurisdictio n of the 
New York Port of E mbarkation. ^Tables 9 
and\l(^ and Chart 7] 

The ports of embarkation were advised 
by the Chief of Transportation as far in 
advance as possible concerning the troops 

43 ASF MPR, Jan 44, Sec. 3, p. 46, graphically 
shows "troop relationships" of U.S. ports and thea- 
ters, October-December 1943. 



Chart 4 — Passengers Embarked by the Army at U.S. Ports for the Several 
Oversea Areas: December 1941-December 1945 a 


AMERICAN 250,501 - M „ _^ AMERICAN 214,026 y 


1,213,684 (15.9%) 

1,124,866 ij <I4.7%T 

ASIA 259,201 j/ 

(2 8%) 

MEDITERRANEAN 1,116,047 if 

EUROPEAN 3,481,164 b/ 


* Includes a small number of passengers embarked in Canada. 
b Includes Alaska and Canadian Pacific ports. 

Includes North, Central, and South America, Greenland, Bermuda, and South Atlantic islands. 

1 Includes South and Central Pacific. 

* Includes North and Central Africa, Sicily, Italy, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf. 
' Includes western Pacific. 

* Includes troops for China, Burma, India. 

" Includes Iceland, United Kingdom, northern Continent, southern France. 

Source: Reports from ports of embarkation to Movements Division, OCT, reworked for a statistical volume of this 
series, now in preparation. 

and organizational equipment that they 
would be expected to embark during suc- 
ceeding months. In the beginning such in- 
formation was irregular, but later a defi- 
nite procedure was followed. The first ad- 
vices, usually given six months in advance, 
included an estimate of the troop spaces to 
be available during each month and the 
types of troops to be moved. These esti- 
mates enabled the port commanders to 
enlarge or reduce their staffs and their 
facilities according to the prospective load. 
Frequent changes in the forecasts were 
necessary as theater priority lists were re- 
vised and as firmer estimates of the ship- 
ping situation became possible. When 
movement orders for specific units, re- 
placements, or fillers were issued indicat- 

ing the ports through which they were to 
move and the dates on which they were to 
be ready to leave their home stations, 
copies were sent to the port commanders. 
As rapidly as specific ships could be 
named to sail on specific dates, the ports 
were notified. The troops and their equip- 
ment were then called forward by the port 
commanders in accordance with the pri- 
ority lists, the ability of the port facilities 
to accommodate them, and the avail- 
ability of ships to move them. 44 

" Memo, CofT for HRPE and SFPE, 16 Apr 43, 
sub: Priorities for Late April, OCT 370.5 South Pa- 
cific; Msg, CofT to NYPE and HRPE, 1 1 Jul 43; 
Memo, CofT for BPE and NYPE, 26 Jan 44, sub: 
Vessel Allocations; Ltr, Gross to CG NYPE, 1 Jul 44, 
summarizing procedures; last three in OCT HB Farr 



The port commanders were responsible 
for notifying the theater commanders 
when troops were shipped overseas. The 
Operations Division of the General Staff 
kept the theaters informed regarding War 
Department actions on their priority lists, 
but such advices dealt only with types of 
units and tentative departure dates. The 
first advice from a port of embarkation to 
a theater of destination was the "loading 
cable," which was dispatched about a 
week or ten days before the sailing. The 
loading cable identified the troops that 
were expected to be embarked on a par- 
ticular ship for sailing on a particular day. 
From such messages the theaters were 
able to make preparations for the han- 
dling of the ships and the disposition of the 
troops and their equipment. As soon as 
possible after a ship or convoy had sailed, 
the port sent a "sailing cable," which gave 
the actual time of departure. Passenger 
lists and cargo manifests were forwarded 
to the theaters by air mail in order to ar- 
rive in advance of the vessels. Because of 
the unusually heavy movements to the 
European theater and the careful plan- 
ning that was necessary in advance of the 
troops' arrival, that theater was notified in 
the sailing cable of any changes that had 
been made in the troop list after the load- 
ing cable had been dispatched. In the early 
part of the war the theaters complained of 
the failure of the ports of embarkation to 
give them full and prompt advices, but 
the system was steadily improved. This 
improvement was facilitated by frequent 
exchanges, between ports of embarkation 
and the theaters they served, of liaison 
officers for short tours of duty. 4 "' 

The preparation of the loading plan, 
showing the troops that were to be em- 
barked on a particular ship, was usually 
left to the port Commander, who was 

governed by the approved priority list for 
the theater concerned. But sometimes 
when the sailings to an oversea area were 
infrequent, or when the theater's require- 
ments were especially urgent, the Chief of 
Transportation indicated that certain 
units were to sail on certain vessels. 46 
Loading plans were often upset by late 
changes in priorities. In some instances 
units for which movement orders had 
been issued were not able to pass inspec- 
tion by the scheduled readiness dates be- 
cause of shortages of personnel or equip- 
ment or deficiencies in training. In this 
situation OPD designated other units of 
the same type if they were available, or, 
as was often the case, the port commander 
substituted troops that were already at the 
port staging area, following the theater 
priority list as nearly as possible. Every 
effort was made to avoid letting a ship sail 
with empty spaces when the theater was 
in need of troops. 

The organizations at the port for han- 
dling troop movements were not uniform. 
Early in 1944 the Chief of Transportation 
issued a "typical organization chart" for 
the ports and requested them to follow it 
so far as practicable, but because of dif- 
ferent conditions in the several localities 
and personal preferences on the part of the 
port commanders organizational differ- 
ences persisted. 47 There were, however, 
several groups of related functions to be 

15 Memo, C of Trans Br G-4 for CGs of PEs, 12 
Jan 42, sub: Sailing Info to Oversea Comdrs, G-4/ 
297 17- 1 14; Ltr, Col Frank S. Ross, CofT ETOUSA, 
to Wylie, 15 Aug 42, OCT 319.1 England; Memo, 
CG SFPE for CofT, 18 Sep 45, sub: Accomplishments 
and Handicaps, OCT HB SFPE Gen. 

*« Memo, CofT for CG SFPE, 2 Jan 43, sub: Sailing 
of West Point for Middle East, OCT 353.01-400.93 
Middle East; Memo, CofT for CG CPE, NYPE, etc., 
15 Aug 43, sub: Priorities for Asiatic Theater, etc., 
OCT 370.5. 

" Wardlow, op. cit., pp. |100-102~1 



performed at all ports. The ships had to be 
made ready for the embarkation of troops 
and their impedimenta. Arrangements 
had to be made for the transportation of 
troops and impedimenta into and within 
the port area. The enforcement of theater 
priorities and War Department move- 
ment orders, the calling of troops to the 
ports, and the planning of embarkations 
constituted another group of related ac- 
tivities. Control of the movement, process- 
ing, and loading of the equipment and 
supplies that accompanied troops, or were 
marked for particular units though mov- 
ing separately, made up another func- 
tional field. In addition, the port com- 
manders were responsible for regulating 
the flow of maintenance supplies for the 
support of troops after their arrival over- 
seas. In the typical plan issued by the 
Chief of Transportation, these five groups 
of functions were assigned to five divisions, 
designated Water Division, Port Trans- 
portation Division, Troop Movement Di- 
vision, Initial Troop Equipment Division, 
and Oversea Supply Division. This five- 
division organization was actually em- 
ployed only at New York; at other ports 
movements of troops and equipment were 
supervised by the same division, and there 
were other departures from the typical 

Because of the close co-operation that 
was necessary between the Office of the 
Chief of Transportation, the ports of em- 
barkation in the zone of interior, and the 
oversea theaters, the communication sys- 
tems by which these agencies were linked 
were of utmost importance. Exchanges of 
information and adjustments in programs 
had to be made quickly as sailing dates 
approached, and the transmission of mes- 
sages had to be secret as well as fast. Both 

teletype and telephone connections were 
used. Maj. Gen. Homer M. Groninger, 
who commanded the New York Port of 
Embarkation until V-E Day and then be- 
came commander of the San Francisco 
Port of Embarkation, remarked that the 
daily teletype conferences that the ports 
held with the chiefs of transportation in 
the theaters were of "inestimable value." 
Colonel Farr, expressing the view of the 
Office of the Chief of Transportation, cor- 
roborated that opinion. To emphasize the 
point, he stated that during the redeploy- 
ment period the information received 
from the European theater was unsatis- 
factory because the theater did not permit 
its port commanders to communicate di- 
rectly with the zone of interior, and that 
there were usually omissions and delays 
when messages regarding troops sailing 
from European ports had to be relayed 
through the theater headquarters. 48 

Maintaining secrecy in communica- 
tions between the Office of the Chief of 
Transportation and the ports was a con- 
stant problem. Messages transmitted over 
the Transportation Corps teletypewriter 
network were coded and hence were con- 
sidered safe, but urgent business could be 
transacted much more satisfactorily by 
telephone. Although telephone conversa- 
tions were "scrambled," the Intelligence 
Division (G-2) of the General Staff did not 
regard this as providing adequate security. 
Accordingly, the transmission by tele- 
phone of certain information such as sail- 
ing dates, names of vessels, identification 

48 Memo, CofT for All PEs, et al., 9 Aug 42, sub: 
Secret Communications, OCT HB Mvmts Div Gen; 
Memo, CG SFPE for CofT, 18 Sep 45, sub: Accom- 
plishments and Handicaps, par. 6, OCT HB SFPE 
Gen; Memo, Farr for Finlay, 19 Sep 45, sub; Lessons 
Learned, p. 2, OCT HB Mvmts Div Gen. 



of units, and destinations was forbidden. 49 
Breaches of these security rules were 
sometimes risked in order to get business 
of great urgency transacted. Such breaches 
when detected by G-2 caused embarrass- 
ment to the officers involved, but there is 
no evidence that the enemy was ever 

Movement to the Ports 

Preparations for the movement of troops 
to the ports began with instructions issued 
by OPD to the AGF, the AAF, or the ASF, 
directing that necessary steps be taken to 
prepare specific types of troops for ship- 
ment to stated oversea theaters, and setting 
approximate dates on which the troops 
were to be ready to leave their home sta- 
tions. These instructions normally were 
issued about six weeks before actual move- 
ment. Specific units, or groups of replace- 
ments, were designated and alerted as soon 
as possible. As the date approached for the 
departure of a unit from its home station, 
a movement order was issued by The Ad- 
jutant General at the request of the AGF, 
the AAF, or the ASF, giving complete in- 
structions regarding the strength of the 
unit, authorized equipment and supplies, 
the port for which the movement was 
destined, and the latest date for arrival at 
the port. The movement order included a 
shipment number that was used there- 
after in identifying the troops and their 
impedimenta in order to obviate reference 
to their military designations. The move- 
ment order also included any special in- 
structions required by the unit com- 
mander or the commander of the port at 
which the troops were to be staged and 
embarked. These instructions were issued 
only after a careful study had been made 

of theater requirements, shipping capabil- 
ities, the training status of troops, and the 
readiness of equipment. Such study rep- 
resented the combined efforts of the Oper- 
ations Division of the General Staff, the 
Operations Division of Army Service 
Forces headquarters, The Inspector Gen- 
eral, and the Chief of Transportation. 50 

The process of making troops ready for 
shipment to the theaters and moving the 
men and their impedimenta to the ports 
in an orderly and timely manner involved 
a number of Army agencies — the major 
commands (AGF, AAF, and ASF) to 
which the troops belonged, the corps areas 
(later service commands), the command- 
ers of home stations, the unit commanders, 
the chiefs of technical services who pro- 
vided equipment and supplies, and the 
ports of embarkation. During 1940 and 
1941 it became increasingly apparent that 
co-ordination between these agencies 
lacked effectiveness and that more ade- 
quate definition of the duties of each was 
necessary. Late in 1941, at the request of 
the Chief of Staff, The Inspector General 

49 OCT Adm Memo 1 16, 7 Oct 42, Sec. 1; Memo, 
GofT for Agencies Listed, 30 Jan 43, sub: TC Priority 
Teletype, OCT 676.2; TC Cir 45-6, 24 Jul 44, sub: 
Communications Security; Memo, CofT for PEs, 5 
Aug 44, sub: Communications Security Course, OCT 
000.72/TC Misc; TC Cir 50-14, revised 3 1 Jan 45, 
sub: Ships' Port Serial Numbers. 

50 Procedures and responsibilities for priority lists 
and movement orders are dealt with in the following: 
Memo, TAG for CG AGF, el al., 5 Jan 43, sub: Org, 
Tng, and Equip of Units, AG 320.2 (1-2-43); Memo, 
DCofS USA for ACofS G-l, G-3, G-4, OPD, 5 Aug 
43, sub; Mvmts to Theaters; Memo, ACofS OPD for 
Theater Group, et al., 12 Aug 43, sub: OPD Co-ordi- 
nation of Pers, Troop and Materiel Matters; Memo, 
OPD for DCofS, 10 Nov 43, sub: Troop Mvmt Pro- 
jection; last three in WDCSA 370.5 (Secret); WD 
Pamphlet 29-3, 24 Oct 44, Oversea Travel Orders for 
Casuals, Replacements, and Individuals (short title, 



made a study of the problem in connec- 
tion with troops moving through the ports 
of embarkation at New York, San Fran- 
cisco, and Seattle, and his report provided 
a basis for corrective action. 51 This action 
was spurred by the outbreak of war with 
Germany and Japan and the prospect of 
vasdy increased troop shipments. It took 
the form of more explicit instructions in 
the movement orders and the issuance of 
separate instructions covering standard 
procedures that could be referred to in 
movement orders. 

The separate instructions, eventually 
published in pamphlet form, became the 
"bible" of officers concerned with troop 
movements. The basic document, entitled 
Preparation for Overseas Movement (short 
title, POM), was issued first in February 
1943 and was later greatly expanded and 
reissued as experience accumulated. It 
was supplemented by pamphlets entitled 
Additional Preparation for Overseas 
Movement for AAF Units (short title, 
AIR-POM), Identification of Organiza- 
tional Impedimenta (short title, IOI), and 
Preparation for Overseas Movement of 
Individual Replacements (short title, 
POR). 52 The publication of standard pro- 
cedures was a great boon to the Chief of 
Transportation, whose headquarters was 
responsible for all transportation arrange- 
ments, and whose port organizations had 
ultimate responsibility for the condition of 
troops and impedimenta when they were 
dispatched overseas. His staff naturally 
had played an important role in formulat- 
ing these procedures. 

Detailed instructions regarding the 
preparation of troops at home stations 
before their movement to the ports were 
included in POM. In general, the objec- 
tive was to have units at full strength, com- 
pletely trained and equipped, before 

entrainment, and to establish a complete 
understanding between the unit com- 
mander and the port commander regard- 
ing the personnel and the materiel being 
shipped. The periods normally allowed 
between the dates when units were alerted 
and the dates when they were to be ready 
to move -were theoretically adequate to 
allow shortages of personnel and equip- 
ment and deficiencies in training to be 
overcome, but frequently this proved not 
to be the case. Especially during the early 
part of the war, when the production of 
equipment and supplies was slow and 
training programs were lagging, the port 
commanders were obliged to assume ex- 
ceedingly heavy burdens in correcting 
such deficiencies at the staging areas. The 
Chief of Transportation, while encourag- 
ing his port commanders to take all possi- 
ble measures to meet the responsibility, 
kept up a constant campaign for more 
complete compliance with the provisions 
of POM on preparations at home stations, 
but his effort was only partly successful. 53 
It was logical that the movement of 
both troops and impedimenta from home 
stations to ports of embarkation should be 
controlled by the port commanders. They 
were in possession of approved priority 
lists and of movement orders indicating 
the dates when specific units were to be 
ready to go forward; they also knew more 
accurately than anyone else when the 
staging areas would be able to receive 
additional troops and when the ships 

51 Memo, TIG for CofS, 19 Nov 41, sub: Supply 
and Mvmt of Units, G-4/33098. 

" Author's Memo, 22 Feb 44, sub: Instructions Re- 
garding Preparation of Troops and Impedimenta for 
Movement Overseas, summarizing actions taken, with 
documents attached, OCT HB PE Gen Troop Mvmte 
to Port. 

See below, pp. 1 17-19. 



would be ready for loading. 34 The control 
authority vested in the port commanders 
applied to replacements as well as to troop 
units. As a general practice the port com- 
mander's summons, which became known 
as a call, was issued at least five days before 
the troops were expected to entrain. It 
stated the staging area to which the troops 
were to be delivered and the date of their 
arrival. 55 The Chief of Transportation re- 
ceived a copy of each call, and his Traffic 
Control Division took immediate steps to 
establish a rail routing for the shipment 
and to arrange for rail equipment to be 
available at the home station on the 
departure date. 56 

The actual date of departure from the 
home station frequently differed from the 
date contemplated when the movement 
was initiated. Changes in the priority lists 
approved by OPD and adverse reports by 
The Inspector General on the condition of 
units often caused movements to be de- 
layed. Usually such delays were counter- 
balanced by the advancement of other 
movements. The port commanders some- 
times called troops to the staging areas 
slightly ahead of their readiness dates. 
Such advancements might be the conse- 
quence of other units being deferred or of 
adjustments in the sailing schedules for 
troop transports. In either case the units 
advanced were needed to fill available 
ship space. Because such advancements 
sometimes drew protests from the major 
commands concerned, the Chief of Trans- 
portation arranged that, in cases where a 
major command decided that a unit was 
not in condition to comply with the port 
call and there were no other units on the 
priority list suitable for substitution, the 
facts would be presented to OPD for a 
decision that would, if possible, avoid a 
waste of ship space." 

When port commanders were not able 
to call troops by the readiness dates given 
in the movement orders, they were ex- 
pected to propose new readiness dates as 
promptly as possible. But the port com- 
manders were instructed to keep depar- 
tures from readiness dates, whether 
advancements or deferments, to a mini- 
mum. 38 To assist port commanders in de- 
termining when calls should be issued, the 
Chief of Transportation supplied them 
with data regarding the time in transit to 
be allowed from the respective service 
commands to the respective ports for troop 
trains, freight trains, and mixed trains. 59 

The movement of troop impedimenta 
to the ports gave rise to special problems 
because the shipments flowed from many 
sources. A considerable part of the equip- 
ment and supplies was not shipped from 
home stations but from technical service 
depots and from manufacturing plants. 
Matching these numerous shipments with 
the troops for which they were intended 
was an intricate problem at the ports. Al- 
though the instructions on the subject were 
explicit, information furnished the port 
commanders concerning such shipments 
was often inadequate or arrived too late to 

54 Memo, ACofS G-4 for TAG, 1 Jan 42, sub: En- 
trainment of Troops, G-4/33700; Memo, TAG for 
CofAAF, el al., 2 Jan 42, AG 370.5 (1-1-42); Memo, 
TQMG for Trans Br G-4, 12 Jan 42, sub: Overseas 
Troop Mvmts, G-4/33700. 

55 In the beginning some ports referred to these calls 
as movement orders, but this was stopped because of 
confusion with movement orders issued by TAG; see 
Memo, Dir of Ping ASF for CofT, 28 Oct 43, sub: Gall 
Issued by PEs, OCT 523.06 Follow-up of Shipments. 

56 TC Cir 100-6, 5 Oct 44, sub: POM, and changes, 
concerning distribution of copies of calls. 

,7 Memo, CofT for CG AGF, 25 Jan 43, OCT 370.5 
Readiness Dates. 

5 " Msg, CofT to Port Comdrs, 10 Aug 43, OCT HB 
Farr Staybacks. 

5S TC Cir 100-4, 20 Jun 44, sub: Troop and/or 
Impedimenta Mvmt by Rail to Ports. 



be of service. 60 Shipments of impedimenta 
were usually called to move from home 
stations ahead of the troops because of the 
longer period required en route. Both the 
AGF and the ASF complained that not 
enough time was allowed to prepare 
equipment for shipment, and the port 
commanders were instructed to issue calls 
as early as possible. However, the port 
commanders were limited in this respect 
by conditions at the ports and by the fact 
that many units were not cleared by The 
Inspector General until near their readi- 
ness dates. To meet the latter situation, the 
Chief of Transportation arranged with 
OPD that when the readiness date for a 
unit drew near and the port commander 
had not yet received clearance on the 
training status of the troops, he might nev- 
ertheless call the unit's equipment forward, 
since there was reasonable assurance that 
the troops would be cleared soon. 81 

Troops usually were unacquainted with 
the ports through which they were to move 
and the procedures they were likely to en- 
counter there. Several measures were 
adopted to offset this unfamiliarity. Each 
port commander issued a pamphlet con- 
taining information for the guidance of 
incoming troops, which described the facil- 
ities of the port and its staging areas, the 
organization of the port commander's staff, 
and the practices relating to the staging 
and embarkation of troops, the processing 
of equipment, and port security. These 
pamphlets were intended to be of service 
to unit commanders both before and after 
arrival at the staging areas. 82 

Whenever a large unit was scheduled 
for movement overseas, an advance detail 
was sent to the port of embarkation to co- 
ordinate matters relating to the handling 
of troops and equipment. The larger the 
unit the more time was required for this 

advance work. The port commanders en- 
couraged the early arrival of such details 
and the assignment of adequate personnel, 
but unit commanders did not always make 
satisfactory arrangements. When espe- 
cially large units were to be moved, the 
port commanders sent their representa- 
tives to home stations to assist the units 
with their planning. As a further aid to 
unit commanders, the New York Port of 
Embarkation prepared a motion picture 
portraying the execution of important 
procedures prescribed in POM. 

The bulk of the troops arriving at the 
staging areas traveled by rail because the 
railways afforded the most satisfactory 
service for large groups making long jour- 
neys and simplified the problem of enforc- 
ing discipline and security regulations. 63 
The railway terminals at the larger stag- 
ing areas were capable of accommodating 
eight to twelve troop trains at the same 
time. Some troops were transported to the 
ports from nearby stations by motor, but 
the number was small compared with the 
total delivered by rail. Individuals and 
small groups sometimes were dispatched 
to the ports by air in order not to miss the 
ships on which they were scheduled to sail, 

60 Memo, TAG for Supply Arms and Services, 17 
Jan 42, sub: Shipments to PEs, AG 523.01 (1-17-42); 
Memo, CofT for PEs, 28 Nov 42, sub: Task Force 
Shortages; Memo, CofT for ACofS for Opns SOS, 14 
Dec 42; last two in OCT 400.61 Shortages 1943. 

61 Memo, CofT for Col Calvin De Witt, Jr., NYPE, 
18 Apr 43, sub: Release of Org Equip; Memo of 
Record by Col Farr, 26 Apr 43; both in OCT HB 
Farr Staybacks. The problem of getting impedimenta 
shipped so as to be available to the troops soon after 
their arrival overseas had many facets. See below, pp. 

| 148-61 | 

Memo, CofT for CG ASF, 17 May 43, sub: Info 
Concerning PEs, OCT 370.5 POM 1942-43; Pro- 
cedures for Overseas Movement Through the New 
York Port of Embarkation (short title, NYPE POM), 
1 Jan 44, OCT HB N YPE Troop M vmts to Port. 
63 Wardlow, op. rit. Jpp. 357-58. | 



but here again the percentage of the total 
was slight. 

During the early months of the war 
there was some speculation as to the feasi- 
bility of moving troops from their home 
stations directly to shipside rather than 
sending them to port staging areas for 
periods of from one to several weeks before 
embarkation. To develop information on 
this subject, the Chief of Transportation 
requested The Inspector General to send 
representatives to observe the movement 
of several units through the Charleston 
Port of Embarkation. The reports of the 
observers indicated that the proposed pro- 
cedure was feasible under certain condi- 
tions but also disclosed that there were 
formidable problems in getting troops and 
their equipment fully ready for shipment 
overseas before they left their home sta- 
tions. 64 By the time the investigation was 
finished and the reports studied — summer 
of 1942 — experience had established that 
the port staging areas had an intricate and 
indispensable mission to perform, and the 
question of eliminating them from the 
standard troop movement procedure was 
never again given serious consideration. 

During a period of heavy troop move- 
ment through a particular port it was 
advantageous to have some of the larger 
and better organized units staged at their 
home stations and moved from there either 
to shipside or to a staging area for an over- 
night stop before embarkation. In such 
cases the port commanders sent processing 
teams to the home stations. Also, some 
groups of replacements were staged at re- 
placement depots. But the bulk of the 
troops received their final processing at 
port staging areas. In all cases the essential 
point of doctrine — that movements to the 
ports should be made only on call of the 
port commanders — was observed. 

Troop Staging at the Ports 

The staging areas at the ports of embar- 
kation served a dual purpose. The basic 
conception was that they should serve as 
temporary stations where troops destined 
for shipment overseas could be assembled 
and organized so that they could be em- 
barked as soon as the transports were 
ready to receive them. Since there was a 
critical shortage of ships and many troop 
transports moved in convoys with closely 
calculated departure dates, it was impor- 
tant that vessels not be held in port wait- 
ing for troops to arrive from inland sta- 
tions. The second conception of the staging 
area was that of a station where troops 
could be processed — that is, given the final 
attention necessary to make them ready 
for oversea service. The processing includ- 
ed bringing units to authorized strength 
and correcting deficiencies relating to the 
physical condition, the personal equip- 
ment, and the training status of the indi- 
vidual soldiers. 1 " The latter role proved to 
be highly significant and more time con- 
suming than had been foreseen. It was in- 
tended, of course, that troops returning 
from overseas would pass through the stag- 
ing areas for some of the processing that 
was necessary in connection with their 
repatriation. In addition to processing 
U.S. Army personnel, including nurses 
and Wacs, the staging areas carried out 
whatever processing was necessary for 
personnel of the U.S. Navy, troops of 

64 Memo, TIG for Trans Div SOS, 3 Jun 42, sub: 
Mvmt of Task Forces, OCT 370.5 POM 1942-43; 
Interv with Col Farr, 18 Feb 44, sub: Troop Mvmts 
Overseas, OCT HB PE Gen St Area Procedures. 

G5 TC Pamphlet 7, Guide for Org and Opn of 
Staging Areas, 1 Feb 44, and revision, 16 Dec 46, 
deaj with mission, functions, and organization. See 
also appropriate sections of PE Org Manuals, in OCT 
HB files for respective ports. 



Allied nations, and civilians who were 
sailing on troopships. 

In peacetime somewhat similar func- 
tions had been performed by the oversea 
discharge and replacement depots located 
at the ports, but in wartime much more 
extensive and complete facilities were re- 
quired. This need was felt during 1941, 
and the ports of embarkation then in oper- 
ation arranged for the assignment of space 
for troop staging at nearby Army installa- 
tions. It was recognized, however, that the 
space procurable in this way was limited 
and that entirely new staging areas would 
have to be constructed if the United States 
should enter the war. Another considera- 
tion was that some of the established 
installations available for staging purposes 
were located at considerable distances 
from the ports, whereas the port com- 
manders found it advantageous to have 
such facilities near to, though not within, 
the port areas. Plans for the construction 
of staging areas were initiated late in 1941 , 
and during the month following the Pearl 
Harbor attack new facilities in the vicinity 
of New York, New Orleans, and San 
Francisco were authorized. Later in 1942 
approval was given to the construction of 
staging facilities near Boston, Charleston, 
Hampton Roads, Los Angeles, and Seattle, 
as well as a second large staging area near 
New York. Eventually staging facilities 
were constructed at Portland, Oregon, and 
Prince Rupert, British Columbia. 66 

The Chief of Transportation and his 
port commanders kept the staging capa- 
bility under constant review in the light of 
projected troop movements to insure that 
it would be adequate for the needs as they 
arose. The specially designed staging areas 
were more satisfactory for staging troops 
than other Army installations, and the 

policy was to make them adequate to han- 
dle the bulk of the movement. However, 
several of the older stations were used for 
staging purposes throughout the war. The 
fluctuation in theater requirements, the 
convoy system in the Atlantic, and delayed 
ship movements made the flow of troops 
through the ports uneven, and the staging 
facilities had to be capable of handling the 
peak load. 67 

Higher headquarters did not always 
agree with the Chief of Transportation's 
estimate of staging area requirements, and 
he found it necessary to resist efforts to 
radically reduce the physical capacity of 
the staging areas as well as the station 
complements. He succeeded in maintain- 
ing what he considered an adequate stag- 
ing capability by emphasizing that the 
determining factor was the possible peak 
load and by pointing out the role that 
these installations would have in repatri- 
ation and demobilization. Nevertheless, 
the staging capacity was considerably re- 
duced as the war progressed and the pros- 
pective need could be more clearly 
foreseen. 68 

The ability of the staging areas to 
handle peak movements naturally de- 
pended on the intensity with which the 
facilities were used. For a time the usual 

66 OCT HB Monograph 8, pp. 35-44. 

67 Memo, CofT for Dir of Opns ASF, 1 1 Sep 43, 
sub: St Area Reqmts; reply, 23 Sep 43; Memo, 
A CofT for Mob Div ASF, 1 Oct 43"; Chart, St Area 
Loading Forecast NYPE and BPE, Sep 43- Apr 44; 
all in OCT 680-900 NY 1943. 

88 Memo, Farr for Mclntyre, 4 Nov 43, sub: St Area 
Work Load Analysis, OCT HB Farr Staybacks; 
Memo, CofT for CG ASF, 29 Jan 44, sub: Utilization 
of Posts, Camps, and Stations, AG 323.3 Trans Gen; 
Memo, ACofT for PEs, 24 Jun 44; Memo, CofT for 
Dir Mob Div ASF, 28 Jun 44; last two in OCT HB 
Meyer Staybacks; Memo, Dir Plans and Opns ASF 
for CofT, 18 Aug 44, sub: Closing Certain St Areas; 
1st Ind, CofT for CG ASF, 23 Aug 44; last two in 
OCT 323.3 Utilization of Comd Facilities. 



allowance of sixty square feet of floor space 
per enlisted man was cut to forty square 
feet, but this was found undesirable as a 
permanent arrangement." 9 Various means 
were used to avoid holding troops for ex- 
cessive periods in the staging areas, not 
only because a slow turnover reduced the 
number that could be handled over a 
given period but also because it adversely 
affected morale and increased the security 
problem. The port commanders closely 
co-ordinated the movement of troops to 
the staging areas with troopship schedules. 
Home stations were admonished to do a 
more complete job of processing and train- 
ing troops so as to lighten the task of the 
ports. For a time the port commanders 
were required to report any units which, 
because of changed priorities or other cir- 
cumstances beyond their control, re- 
mained at the staging areas more than 
forty-five days so that steps could be taken 
to have them removed. 70 

Early in the war when theater require- 
ments were uncertain and priorities sub- 
ject to frequent change, units were 
sometimes held at the staging areas for 
many weeks. This situation improved dur- 
ing 1942, and early in 1943 the War 
Department instructed the port com- 
manders to avoid so far as possible holding 
units at the staging areas more than two 
weeks. 71 While that objective could not be 
attained in all instances, a good measure 
of success was achieved. Data are not 
available to show the over-all result, but 
the figures given in Table 1 1~| for troops 
staged by the New York Port of Embarka- 
tion during 1944 indicate that, during the 
six months for which the data are avail- 
able, well over 75 percent of the troops 
that sailed had spent less than fourteen 
days at the staging areas, and that in each 
month of the year the average was well be- 

low that figure. The exceptionally low 
average for the month of May 1944 must 
be viewed in the light of the extraordinary 
effort made at that time to get troops to 
Europe before the invasion of the Conti- 
nent began. 

The rated capacity for staging intransit 
troops fluctuated greatly. These fluctu- 
ations were due to the acquisition or re- 
lease by the port commanders of staging 
space at training camps or other stations 
not normally under the control of the port 
commanders, the construction of new bar- 
racks or the diversion of housing to other 
uses, and changes in the amount of floor 
space allotted to an individual. The largest 
recorded capacity for staging intransit 
troops was 248,653 in May 1943. At that 
time several installations that would soon 
be released because of the completion of 
new facilities were still listed as staging 
areas, and the allotment of space per en- 
listed man had been reduced to forty 
square feet. During the first seven months 
of 1944, when the invasion of Normandy 
was the primary military consideration, 
the staging capacity averaged 224,000 and 
the peak number of troops on hand was 
187,000. In August 1944 the allotment of 
space per enlisted man was again placed 
at sixty square feet, and this together with 
other adjustments reduced the rated 
capacity considerably. During the last 
year of the war the capacity figure fluctu- 
ated between 131,000 and 141,000. Dur- 

69 Memo, CofT for CG ASF, 7 Jan 44, OCT HB 
Wylie Staybacks; Memo, CofT for CG ASF, 29 Jan 
44, par. 2a, AG 323.3 Trans Gen; WD Cir 321, 3 Aug 
44, Sec. V. 

Memo, AGF Comd Gp, Fort Dix, for CG ASF, 
20 Feb 43; 3d Ind by CG NYPE, 3 Mar 43; 8th Ind 
by CofT, 1 Apr 43; all in OCT 322 Ord Cos; TC Cir 
50-55, 9 Oct 44, sub: Units in St Areas Over 45 Days. 

71 Memo, TAG for CGs AGF, AAF, SOS, et al., 5 
Jan 43, sub: Org, Tng, and Equip of Units for Over- 
sea Sv, AG 320.2 (1-3-43). 



Table 11 — Time Spent at the Staging Areas by Troops Embarked at New York 

During 1944 a 


Total Troops 
Departing From 
Staging Areas 

Troops Departing 
Within 14 Days 
of Arrival 

Percentage Depart- 
ing Within 14 
Days of Arrival 

Average Days 

Spent at 
Staging Areas 

January . 
February . 
March . . 
April. . . 
May . . . 
June . . . 
July . . . 
August . . 
October. . 

104, 759 
99, 157 

94, 224 

95, 579 
89, 478 

103, 624 
139, 391 
128, 888 
174, 225 

72, 492 

118, 241 
69, 175 
84, 791 

< b ) 



( b ) 

( b ) 

( b ) 


( b ) 
( b ) 
( b ) 
( b ) 
( b ) 
( b ) 

8 Includes units and casuals staged at Camp Kilmer, Camp Shanks, Fort Slocum, and Fort Hamilton. 
b Data not available. 

Source: January-June figures are from Rpt, NYPE Progress and Activities, for respective months; July-December figures submitted 
with Ltr, NYPE to Mil Ping ic Int Div OCT, 31 Oct 52, OCT HB NYPE St Areas Gen. 

ing December 1944 and January 1945, 
when the outbound troop movement was 
especially heavy because of the military 
situation in Europe, the peak number of 
troops on hand at some staging areas ex- 
ceeded the rated capacity, but the excess 
was readily absorbed. In view of these 
fluctuations, no month can be considered 

typical. Table 12 gives a spot picture of 

the staging situation in January 1945, 
which witnessed the heaviest outbound 
movement of any month of the war. 72 

The staging areas were under the com- 
mand of the port commanders throughout 
the war, but vigorous action on the part of 
the Chief of Transportation was necessary 
to keep them in that status. When the 
service commands were established in 
July 1942 as successors to the corps areas, 
there was a strong sentiment in SOS head- 
quarters for the transfer of staging areas to 

the service commands, and an organiza- 
tional manual was drafted on that basis. 
This sentiment was predicated on the fact 
that the equipping and training of troops, 
which were important aspects of the stag- 
ing process, as well as housekeeping at the 
staging facilities were normal functions of 
the service commands, whereas the ports 
of embarkation were essentially transpor- 
tation agencies. 

General Gross attacked the proposal 
from many angles and won General Som- 
ervell's decision to leave the staging areas 
as they were. 73 The basic argument against 
the proposed change was the advantage of 
continuity in the control of troops from 

72 ASF MPR, Sec. 3, gives an analysis of staging 
each month, based on weekly reports from port com- 

73 Memo, Opns Off OCT for Gross, 26 Jul 42, and 
atchd papers, OCT HB PE Gen St Area Facilities; 
Min of Conf of CGs SOS, 30 Jul 42, App. to record 
of afternoon session, Question 40, OCT HB Ex Files. 


Table 12 — Capacities of Troop Staging Areas and Intransit Troops Staged: 

1-28 January 1945 a 


Intransit Troops Staged 

Staging Areas 

Rated Gross 

Capacity b 


Capacity c 



Peak Num- 

Arrived & 

Departed B 

Der on Hand 1 

194, 636 


258, 042 


147, 598 



17, 917 

46, 141 

57, 729 

28, 523 

New York: 

34, 686 

25, 501 

64, 295 

63, 240 

29, 745 

37, 550 

28, 006 

61, 957 

54, 237 

30, 786 



1, 560 



Hampton Roads: 

24, 137 

17, 815 

10, 577 

24, 426 

17, 464 

New Orleans: 

5, 940 

2, 622 

4, 589 



Los Angeles: 

7, 636 




8, 923 

San Francisco: 

30, 677 

23, 424 

20, 527 

24, 470 

13, 934 


2, 507 

7, 368 

7, 986 

2, 878 


12, 524 


28, 078 


10, 738 





1, 983 


Prince Rupert: 

2, 668 





* Table does not include a number of facilities used for staging earlier in the war. 

b Rated gross, capacity based on allowance of 60 square feet per enlisted man and 120 square feet per commissioned officer in housing 
in active status at end of month. 

fl Rated staging capacity was gross capacity less space required for station complement, troops in training at the port, and other non- 
staging purposes. 

d Total troops arrived includes 225,446 destined overseas and 32,596 returned from overseas. 

* Total troops departed includes 238,872 embarked for overseas and 34,339 shipped to stations in the zone of interior. 

' When peak number exceeded rated staging capacity, the excess wa8 accommodated by reducing the space allowance or by using tents. 

* These were entirely new facilities. The new staging area built at New Orleans (Camp Plauche) was being used entirely for training. 
The new staging area at Charleston was no longer required because that port was being used almost entirely for receiving patients from 

h These were Regular Army installations improved or enlarged to provide staging facilities. 
Source: ASF Monthly Progress Report, January 1945, Sec. 3, p. 16. 

their arrival at the seaboard until they 
had been embarked. Throughout this 
period the closest possible co-ordination 
was necessary to insure that the troops 
were fully processed by the scheduled em- 
barkation dates, that last-minute changes 

in priorities were accomplished without 
delay to the vessels or waste of ship space, 
and that organic equipment was proc- 
essed and shipped at the proper time. As 
long as the port commander had direct 
control of all of these operations he was in 



a position to deal with problems as they 
arose through command decisions. If he 
should have to negotiate with the service 
commanders in such matters, the direct- 
ness and speed of command decisions 
would be lost. Mutual understanding be- 
tween the officers in charge of the staging 
areas, the ships, and the embarkation 
operation was necessary ; and the Chief of 
Transportation was convinced that this 
could be best achieved if they were all 
under one command. 

Although the port commanders' control 
of the operation of the staging areas was 
thus established, uncertainty still existed 
regarding the command of troops while 
they were being staged. The AGF and the 
AAF wanted to retain command of troops 
while they were at the staging areas, par- 
ticularly because of the training that might 
have to be carried on there and the disci- 
plinary problems that arose, and G-3 con- 
curred in this view. The Operations Divi- 
sion and SOS headquarters supported the 
view of the Chief of Transportation that 
such an arrangement would create confu- 
sion and hamper the port commanders in 
their task of processing the troops. The 
latter view prevailed and in September 
1942 the Chief of Staff issued appropriate 
instructions. Under these instructions all 
units upon arrival in the staging areas 
were to pass to the command of the port 
commanders and of their representatives, 
the commanders of the staging areas. The 
Chief of Transportation was to establish at 
each staging area separate "small perma- 
nent command groups" for the AGF, the 
AAF, and the SOS to assist in controlling 
units smaller than divisions with respect 
to discipline, security, and training. These 
command groups were to provide liaison 
between the major command headquar- 
ters and the troops being staged; it was 

clearly stated in the instructions, however, 
that they were not independent of the 
port commanders but were included 
among the command echelons through 
which the port commanders exercised 
control. 74 

The issues at stake were not entirely 
resolved by the establishment of command 
groups. The AGF continued to express 
dissatisfaction with the command setup, 
although the complaints abated as the 
number of units held at the staging areas 
for abnormally long periods decreased and 
the training facilities and methods were 
improved. 75 The AAF alleged that the 
command groups were being restrained 
by the port commanders from communi- 
cating with their headquarters and so were 
not fulfilling their purpose. As late as July 
1943 some staging areas had not been 
provided with command groups. The 
Director of Military Training, ASF, ac- 
cordingly instructed the Chief of Trans- 
portation to take immediate measures to 
insure that such groups were established 
in all staging areas requiring them and 
that liaison between the groups and the 
major command headquarters was not 
obstructed. 76 

The Chief of Transportation endeavored 
to enforce this policy, although it was not 

" Memo, ACofS OPD for CofS, 4 Sep 42, sub: 
Comd of Units Ordered Overseas; Memo, CofS for 
AGF, AAF, and SOS, 1 2 Sep 42, sub: Control of Units 
in St Areas; both in WDCSA 370.5 (Secret); Memo, 
CG SOS for CofT, 21 Sep 42; Memo, CG AGF for 
Subordinate Comds, 5 Oct 42; Memo, CofT for Port 
Cpmdrs, 20 Oct 42; last three in OCT 370.5 Control 
of Units of St Areas. 

75 Robert R. Palmer, Bell I. Wiley, and William R. 
Keast, The Procurement and Training of Ground Combat 
WAR II (Washington, 1948), pp. 573-77. 

76 Memo, Dir Mil Tng ASF for CofT, 21 Jul 43, 
OCT HB Mvmts Div St Area Policies and Proce- 



popular with either his Movements Divi- 
sion or his port commanders. They be- 
lieved, on the one hand, that the staging 
area complements were able to provide 
adequately for the training and other 
needs of troops during their short stay at 
the ports before embarkation and that the 
command groups were therefore unneces- 
sary. They found, on the other hand, that 
there was a tendency among the command 
groups to communicate with their head- 
quarters regarding matters that were 
strictly the responsibility of the port com- 
manders, and that these activities resulted 
in "a great deal of minor aggravation" 
and some interference with the processing 
of troops. 77 

The problems obviously stemmed from 
an overlapping of interests. The major 
commands had a natural interest in what 
happened to their units up to the time 
they left the zone of interior. The port 
commanders were anxious to avoid any 
developments that would cause confusion 
or delay in the final processing of troops 
for oversea service since this processing 
was usually done under great pressure 
and with deadlines established by convoy 
or ship sailing dates. The basic difficulty 
was one of establishing a clear under- 
standing with the command groups re- 
garding the matters that they should take 
up directly with the port commanders and 
those on which they should maintain liai- 
son with their command headquarters. In 
September 1945, the War Department 
made a final effort to clarify the situation 
by defining in detail the functions of the 
groups — then redesignated liaison sec- 
tions — and re-emphasizing that although 
these sections were under the command of 
the port commanders the liaison with their 
respective headquarters should not be 
impaired. 78 

When troops detrained at a staging area 
they were immediately taken in charge by 
the billeting officer. He was prepared with 
a billeting plan, based on advance infor- 
mation from the unit commander regard- 
ing the composition of the unit and a 
study of the housing available. In most 
cases enlisted men were accommodated in 
mobilization type or theater of operations 
type barracks, but in the early part of the 
war when staging was done at permanent 
Army installations, the use of tents some- 
times was necessary. The larger staging 
areas were divided for administrative pur- 
poses into regimental areas, each of which 
accommodated about 3,000 men and was 
served by a billeting team. So far as pos- 
sible units were billeted in adjacent bar- 
racks, since that arrangement facilitated 
processing and aided morale and disci- 
pline. White and Negro troops were sep- 
arated. Enlisted men with their personal 
equipment were conducted from the train 
to their quarters by members of the billet- 
ing team. Under ordinary circumstances 
processing was started almost immedi- 
ately. 79 

The processing of troops at staging areas 
required attention to many details, and it 
was an especially onerous task because of 
the frequent failure of home stations to 
fully prepare the men for oversea service. 
There were many reasons for such failures 
during the early part of the war including 

77 Min of Port Comdrs Conf, New Orleans, 1 1-14 
Jan 44, p. 62, OCT HB PE Gen Port Comdrs Conf; 
Memo, Farr for Finlay, 19 Sep 45, sub: Lessons 
Learned, par. 10, OCT HB Mvmts Div Gen. 

78 WD Cir 193, 16 May 44, Sec. I; WD Cir 270, 8 
Sep 45, Sec. V; Memo, CG AGF for AGF Liaison Off 
SPE, 14 Sep 45, sub: WD Cir on Port Liaison Sees, 
OCT HB Ex PE— AGF Liaison. 

73 On staging area operations, see lecture by Col 
Cecil L. Rutledge, comdr of Camp Kilmer, NYPE, at 
Atlantic Coast TC Off Tng Sch, undated but prob- 
ably 1943, in OCT HB Fort Slocum Lectures. 



shortages of equipment, shortages of train- 
ing personnel, confusion as to command 
and supply responsibilities, insufficient 
time between the receipt of alert notices 
and the movement dates, and failure of 
commanding officers of units to follow the 
prescribed procedures. 80 Efforts to im- 
prove the situation included issuing POM 
and related procedural instructions dur- 
ing 1 943, and emphasizing the preparation 
of complete and accurate unit status 
reports showing the condition of person- 
nel, training, and equipment before units 
left home stations. 81 

The responsibility of the staging area 
for the medical processing of troops was 
threefold. First, it was required to weed 
out those individuals who were unfit for 
oversea service when unfitness was dis- 
closed by the physical inspection made to 
detect infectious or contagious diseases, by 
the report of the individual on sick call, or 
by reports of commanding officers. Sec- 
ond, it was expected to provide treatment 
to qualify individuals for oversea ship- 
ment with their units, if possible, includ- 
ing medical and surgical attention, the 
correction of dental defects, and the pro- 
vision of eyeglasses. In addition, the stag- 
ing area completed the inoculations 
required for oversea service. 82 

In September 1943 the Chief of Trans- 
portation reported that over a period of 
sixteen months the average number of in- 
dividuals withheld from oversea shipments 
by the port commanders because of phys- 
ical defects had been one half of one per- 
cent. 83 The survey on which this report 
was based disclosed that 10 percent of the 
troops required dental treatment on ar- 
rival at the staging areas, and that 1 per- 
cent had defects that would have caused 
their detention in the zone of interior un- 
less corrected. While he desired that the 
staging areas deal with such defects as 

fully as their personnel and facilities 
would permit, the Chief of Transportation 
emphasized that the responsibility for th<; 
physical condition of troops rested pri- 
marily with the home stations. When he 
learned that some ports in their zeal to 
correct defects were giving thorough 
physical examinations to troops upon their 
arrival at the staging areas and again 
shortly before embarkation, he directed 
them to discontinue the first examination, 
which was not required by War Depart- 
ment instructions and was not necessary 
when home stations fulfilled their respon- 
sibilities. 84 

The port commanders were responsible 
for bringing units to full strength before 
they left the staging areas for oversea serv- 
ice. Movement orders usually stated that 
all vacancies were to be filled before the 
units left their home stations, but that fre- 
quently was not accomplished. 85 In addi- 
tion, there were the vacancies caused by 
the withdrawal of men from units at the 
staging areas for medical reasons. Not in- 
frequently enlisted men went AWOL 
during the staging period and hence were 
lost to their units. In order to fill such 
vacancies the port commanders main- 
tained replacement pools at the staging 
areas, to which they assigned soldiers who 
had not been permitted to sail with their 
units because they needed medical atten- 
tion, returned AWOL's, and fillers who 
had failed to arrive in time to sail with 

80 Memo, TIG for CofS, 7 Dec 42, WDCSA 370.5 

81 Memo, ACof S OPD for AGF, AAF, and SOS, 4 
Feb 43, WDCSA 370.5 (Secret). 

82 Memo, CofT for PEs, 29 Dec 43, sub: Medical 
Processing, OCT 370.5 POM 1944; TC Cir 120-3, 
Changes 1, 1 Feb 44. 

83 Memo, CofT for Contl Div ASF, 25 Sep 43, OCT 
HB Fan Staybacks. 

84 Memo, CofT for PEs, 21 Mar 44, sub: Physical 
Exam and Insp at Ports, OCT 370.5 POM 1944. 

85 See POM, pars. 9 and 30a. 



their units. When these replacement pools 
did not provide the classes of personnel 
required, the port commanders called on 
the AGF, the AAF, and the ASF for fillers. 
In the early part of the war it was neces- 
sary to permit some units to sail under- 
strength and to dispatch fillers on subse- 
quent sailings, but as the replacement 
pools at the ports were built up and the 
replacement systems of the major com- 
mands were improved, this became un- 
necessary except on rare occasions when 
certain types of specialists were in short 
supply. 86 

It was War Department policy that 
troops not be sent to the staging areas 
until they had completed training and 
had fired the course of marksmanship pre- 
scribed for the weapon with which they 
were armed. 87 These requirements were 
not always met, however, and the defi- 
ciencies had to be made up at the ports. 
Also, it was considered desirable to con- 
tinue active training while troops were at 
the staging areas as a means of preventing 
deterioration of physical condition and 
morale. Training personnel and training 
aids were provided by the port command- 
ers, and when suitable arrangements 
could not be made for the use of firing 
ranges at nearby installations such facil- 
ities were constructed at the staging 
areas. 88 

In March 1945, with the demand for 
troops for the European theater abated, 
the War Department increased the mini- 
mum period of training required before 
embarkation from thirteen to eighteen 
weeks. At that time the port commanders 
were relieved of responsibility for enforc- 
ing this requirement except in cases where 
troops had received their basic training at 
the ports. 89 Training activities to keep the 
troops in good physical and mental condi- 
tion were continued, however, as was in- 

struction in fields that fell peculiarly with- 
in the province of the staging areas, such 
as conduct on transports and abandon- 
ship procedures. Troops also were in- 
structed in tactics for evasion, escape, and 
resisting enemy interrogation. The Chief 
of Transportation objected to the inclusion 
of the latter type of training in the port 
commanders' responsibility because he 
believed that the staging process should 
be lightened as much as practicable, but 
his objection was overruled. 90 

Probably the most troublesome part of 
processing was the completion of the in- 
dividual equipment of the troops. The 
staging areas normally supplied certain 
items, such as gas masks and impregnated 
clothing, but by far the greater task was 
providing equipment that the troops 
should have had when they arrived. Each 
of the technical services maintained a staff 
and a considerable stock of supplies at 

SB Memo, CofT for TAG, 2 Apr 42, sub: Repl Pools 
at PEs, OCT 320.2 Gen Trans; Memo, CofT for Mil 
Pers Div ASF, 10 Apr 43, sub: PE Repl Pools, OCT 
HB Farr Stay backs; WD Memo W 600-72-43, 23 Aug 
43, sub: Overseas Repl System; unsigned article, 
"Classification and Assignment at a Staging Area," 
A.G. School Bulletin, April 1943, p. 24. 

8T Memo, TAG for CGs AGF, AAF, SOS, et al., 5 
Jan 43, sub: Org, Tng, and Equip of Units for Over- 
sea Sv, par. 9, OCT 370.5 POM 1942-43; Memo, CG 
SOS for CGs SvCs and Tech Svs, 4 Mar 43, sub: Basic 
Tng for SOS Units, SPX 353 (2-26-43); Min of Port 
Comdrs Conf, New Orleans, 11-14 Jan 44, p. 60, 
OCT HB PE Gen Port Comdrs Conf. 

88 Memo, CofT for PEs, 26 Jan 43, sub: Training 
Aids; Memo, CofT for Dir Tng Div SOS, 26 Feb 43, 
sub: Rifle Range; both in OCT HB PE Gen St Areas 
Facilities; Memo, ACofS G-3 for CG ASF, 9 Apr 43, 
OCT 370.5 Contl of Units in St Areas. For the types 
and extent of training at staging areas of the NYPE, 
see monthly rpt, Progress and Activities, OCT HB 
NYPE Gen. 

89 Memo by Overseas Troop Br of Mvmts Div, 9 
Mar 45, in Mvmts Div Histories for Feb 45, OCT HB 
Mvmts Div Gen. 

90 Memo, G-2 for CofT, 4 May 44; 1st Ind, CofT for 
CG ASF, 7 Jun 44; 3d Ind, CofT for G-2, 23 Jun 44; 
all in OCT HB Meyer Staybacks; Memo, CG ASF for 
Dir Int ASF and CofT, 12 Jul 44, OCT 370.5 POM 



TRAINING FACILITIES AT CAMP STONEMAN, staging area of the San Francisco 
Port of Embarkation. Rifle range (above) and mock village for practice in street fighting (below). 

each staging area; also, facilities were ceipt of requisitions. Often the interval 

maintained for repairing equipment that between the alerting of a unit and its 

arrived in bad condition. departure from the home station was 

Some of the reasons for the failure of brief. Unit commanders, home station 

home stations to provide troops with full commanders, corps area commanders, 

equipment and to have it in good repair and the chiefs of the technical services all 

have already been noted. Many items had responsibilities in connection with the 

were in short supply, especially during the supply of troops destined for oversea areas, 

early part of the war, and the depots could and co-ordination was sometimes faulty, 

not make shipments promptly upon re- Unit commanders were expected to report 



shortages to the technical services as soon 
as possible, and the technical services were 
expected to report to the port command- 
ers which items would be shipped to the 
ports and when they would arrive. Fre- 
quently this information was not received 
at the ports, but they nevertheless had to 
make up all deficiencies before the troops 
embarked. Sometimes this was accom- 
plished only by drawing heavily on the 
port reserves that were maintained to 
meet emergency requests from oversea 
commanders. 91 

As a result of the efforts of the responsi- 
ble agencies and the Mobilization Divi- 
sion in ASF headquarters, there was 
gradual improvement in the equipping of 
troops at home stations. The Chief of 
Transportation employed various meas- 
ures to secure this improvement. Early in 
the war he directed his port commanders 
to set up co-ordinating agencies at the 
staging areas for the specific purpose of 
maintaining close liaison with the unit 
commanders and the chiefs of technical 
services on supply matters. 92 He also 
urged that the commanders of home sta- 
tions be held responsible for positive 
action to insure that unit commanders 
gave proper attention to the equipment of 
their troops, since the former had an op- 
portunity to learn from experience where- 
as the latter prepared for oversea move- 
ment only once. 93 A provision to that 
effect was included in the second edition 
of POM, which was issued in August 

When the situation did not improve as 
rapidly as he had hoped, the Chief of 
Transportation in conjunction with The 
Inspector General established a procedure 
for reporting and tabulating the items of 
clothing and other equipment issued to 
soldiers at the staging areas in order to de- 

termine how far the respective home sta- 
tions were falling short of their responsi- 
bility. A summary, based on data for the 
period 15 May-31 August 1944 and list- 
ing the home stations individually, was 
published by ASF in October and circu- 
lated to all concerned with the advice that 
although some improvement had been 
achieved the situation was still far from 
satisfactory. 94 Similar data for the period 
16 September-13 December 1944 again 
showed improvement, but not enough to 
indicate a satisfactory supply performance 
at home stations. During that period 
729,060 troops arrived at the staging areas 
whose authorized supplies and personal 
equipment included 42,304,956 items, ex- 
cluding those that were normally supplied 
at the ports. The summary showed that 
2,325,056 (5.5 percent) of these items were 
missing and that 1,248,068 (2.9 percent) 
were not in order for combat service. The 
total deficiency therefore was 8.4 per- 
cent. 95 

At one time during the period when 

81 Memo, Somervell for Lutes, 17 May 42, ASF Hq 
Opns Div 1942-43; Memo, Wylie for Gross, 9 Oct 42, 
sub: Supply of Troops Going Overseas; 1st Ind, Lutes 
for CofT, 4 Dec 42; Memo, CofT for PEs, 1 1 Dec 42, 
sub: List of Items Shipped to Ports; Interv with Col 
Farr, 4 Sep 46, sub: Troop Mvmts, p. 5; last four in 
OCT HB PE Gen St Area Procedures; Memo, CofT 
for ACofS for Opns SOS, 14 Dec 42, sub: Task Force 
Shortages, OCT 400.61 Shortages 1943. 

a ' ! Memo, CofT for CG NYPE, 12 Aug 42, sub: 
Rpts on Status of Equip; Memo, CG ASF for Cs of 
Tech Svs, 3 Oct 42, sub: Supply of Troops at PE; both 
in OCT HB PE Gen St Area Procedures. 

» :) 5th Ind, CofT for CG SOS, 4 Nov 42; Memo, 
CofT for DCofS for SvCs ASF, 31 Jul 43; both in OCT 
HB Mvmts Div St Area Policies. 

94 Memo, Lutes for Dir Plans and Opns ASF, 19 
Jul 44, ASF Hq Dir of Plans and Opns; Memo, CG 
ASF for Home Sta Comdrs and Agencies Issuing 
Mvmt Orders, 31 Oct 44, sub: Processing Defi- 
ciencies of Troops at St Areas, OCT 370.5 POM 1944. 

1,5 Extract from Memo, TIG for DCofS, 8 Jan 45, 
sub: Readiness of Units for Mvmt Overseas, OCT 
370.5 Processing Deficiencies 1945. 



constant pressure was being exerted to 
have troops provided with full equipment 
before they started for the staging areas, a 
strong sentiment developed for eliminat- 
ing the showdown inspection at home sta- 
tions and placing the responsibility for 
this inspection, as well as for making up 
the shortages that it disclosed, solely on 
the ports of embarkation. Representatives 
of the service commands attending a 
meeting held in November 1943 made a 
definite recommendation to that effect, 
pointing out the difficulties that home sta- 
tions and technical services were experi- 
encing in carrying out the existing regula- 
tion and the advantages that would accrue 
from concentrating the responsibility at 
the ports. The Chief of Transportation 
was willing to assume the added burden, 
but he indicated that it would involve a 
substantial increase in personnel and 
warehouse space at the staging areas. The 
proposal was therefore dropped. 98 

Despite the showdown inspections at 
home stations, the port commanders held 
similar inspections as soon as possible after 
the troops arrived at the staging areas in 
order to establish definitely what items 
were missing and what were in bad condi- 
tion. The soldiers spread out their per- 
sonal equipment before an inspection 
team, usually in their barracks, and the 
members of the team immediately took 
steps to correct the deficiencies. Late in 
the war, with supplies more readily pro- 
curable by home stations and with larger 
stocks on hand at oversea bases, a revision 
of the procedure for noncontrolled items 
became possible. The change was made 
late in 1944 and was incorporated in the 
third edition of POM, issued in February 
1945. The port commanders no longer 
were responsible for conducting show- 
down inspections, and the technical serv- 

ices ceased shipping noncontrolled sup- 
plies to the ports earmarked for particular 
units. The unit commanders conducted 
the final showdown inspections at the 
staging areas and informed the port com- 
manders what items were needed to fill 
shortages and replace unserviceable 
equipment. The port commanders pro- 
vided these items so far as possible by 
withdrawals from their own stocks or by 
calling on nearby depots. Requisitions for 
items not supplied before the sailing date 
were canceled, and the unit commanders 
submitted new requisitions for these items 
after arrival in the theaters. 97 Controlled 
items — those supplied in accordance with 
the priorities assigned to the respective 
troop units — continued to be shipped to 
home stations or ports according to the 

In addition to the larger tasks of over- 
coming deficiencies in personnel, training, 
and equipment, the staging areas had 
many other responsibilities in connection 
with the final preparation of troops for de- 
parture overseas. Assistance was given in 
handling such personal matters as insur- 
ance, pay allotments, purchase of savings 
bonds, taxes, wills, powers of attorney, 
and various aspects of domestic relations. 
Service records were checked and brought 
up to date. Payrolls were prepared and 
wages were paid in full unless already 
paid as of the last payday. 98 Considerable 

96 Memo, Dir of Supply ASF for Dir of Plans and 
Opns ASF, 13 Nov 43, sub: Suggested Revision of 
POM; Memo, CofT for Brig Gen Frank A. Heileman, 
Dir of Supply ASF, 30 Jan 44, sub: T/E 21 Show- 
down Inspection; both in OCT 370.5 POM 1944. 

97 See Memos, CofT for PEs, 22 Nov 44 and 23 Feb 
45, sub: Proposed Supply Procedure, OCT 370.5 

08 Uncertainty as to the necessity of and the port's 
responsibility for seeing that troops received their pay 
before sailing was removed by WD Cir 106, 4 Apr 45, 
Sec. Ill, and TC Cir 50-57, 10 Apr 45. 



attention was given to "special service" 
activities, which included athletics, theat- 
ricals, motion pictures, concerts, libraries, 
and clubs for the entertainment of the sol- 
dier, and lectures and discussions for his 
orientation to the life that lay ahead. Each 
of the larger staging areas published a 
newspaper devoted chiefly to news of the 
camp. The division of responsibility be- 
tween the port commanders and the serv- 
ice commanders led to misunderstanding 
and delay in providing facilities for spe- 
cial service activities at certain ports, but 
a vigorous directive from General Somer- 
vell and a close follow-up by the Chief of 
Transportation corrected this situation. 89 

Other aspects of the staging operation 
were given close attention because of their 
bearing on morale. The staging period 
was a trying one for many soldiers, par- 
ticularly those with family responsibilities. 
Much depended on the condition of the 
unit when it arrived and the character of 
its leadership, but in any case the staging 
area had an important role in keeping the 
soldiers' spirits up and holding disciplin- 
ary problems down. 

With this in mind, the Chief of Trans- 
portation insisted that the staging instal- 
lations be kept clean and operated in an 
orderly and efficient manner. In line with 
this policy, he directed late in 1943 that 
the commanding officer at Camp Patrick 
Henry, staging area of the Hampton 
Roads Port of Embarkation, be relieved, 
although he conceded that that officer 
had been handicapped by physical condi- 
tions at the camp and too close supervi- 
sion by the port commander. An officer 
who had proved his qualification at 
another staging area was assigned to the 
post. 100 

Constant attention was given to staging- 
area messes as factors affecting morale. 

The Chief of Transportation wanted these 
messes to provide "the best food in the 
Army," but he found that in some in- 
stances they fell far short of that ideal. 
Early in 1944 he arranged for the assign- 
ment of a food service specialist from the 
Quartermaster Corps to aid him in cor- 
recting deficiencies by making regular 
inspections and recommending improve- 
ments. The aim was to have the messes 
operated entirely by the staging area com- 
plements, and port commanders were 
under instruction to assign transient troops 
to mess details only in emergencies. 101 

The processing of replacements was 
similar to the processing of troop units, al- 
though it differed in some respects. In 
1943 the growth in demand for replace- 
ments for the active theaters necessitated 
a clear definition of the oversea replace- 
ment system. 102 Replacement training 
centers were established by the AGF, the 
AAF, and the ASF, and these commands 
also set up replacement depots near the 
seaboard where replacement troops were 
received for classification, checking of 

Si> ASF~Cir77, 14 Sep 43, Sec. IV; Memo, Somer- 
vell for Gross, 15 Jun 43, with Ind, Gross to NYPE, 
OCT HB Gross St Areas; Ltr, Farr for Col James K. 
Herbert, CO LAPE, 20 Feb 45, Oct HB Farr Stay- 
backs; Remarks by Gen Groninger, CG NYPE, in 
Min of Port Comdrs Conf, Boston, 30 Aug-1 Sep 43, 
p. 39, OCT HB PE Gen Port Comdrs Conf. 

100 Ltr, Gross to Brig Gen John R. Kilpatrick, CG 
HRPE, 21 Dec 43, and related documents, in OCT 
HB Gross St Areas. On the general subject see other 
documents in this file; also ASF Staff Conf, 25 May 
43, p. 2. 

101 Min of Port Comdrs Conf, New Orleans, 11-14 
Jan 44, pp. 93-94, OCT HB PE Gen Port Comdrs 
Conf; TC Cir 120-3, 1 Jan 44, Sec. IU; Memo, 
ACofT for CG NOPE, 22 Jan 45, OCT HB Wylie 

11,2 WD Memo W 600-3 1-43, 26 Mar 43, sub: Over- 
sea Repl System; WD Memo W 600-72-43, 23 Aug 
43, same sub. For a general discussion of the replace- 
ment system, see Palmer, Wiley, and Keast, op. cit., 
pp. 169-239. 

tion. An entertainment program is presented at the amphitheater, Camp Kilmer, New Jersey 
(above); the library at Gamb Shanks, N'w York (below ). 



qualifications, and formation into casual 
detachments or companies for shipment 
overseas. 103 While the replacement system 
was being developed, the question arose 
whether replacement depots could be lo- 
cated at the ports as had been the case 
during peacetime. The Chief of Transpor- 
tation opposed any such plan because he 
foresaw that the movement of replace- 
ments would be heavy and that all avail- 
able facilities at the staging areas would 
be needed for the regular staging oper- 
ation. 101 Although the replacement depots 
were responsible for the full processing of 
replacement troops, the port commanders 
nevertheless were required to make up 
any deficiencies that existed when the 
troops reached the staging areas. 105 

The casual detachments or companies 
formed by the commanders of replace- 
ment depots were placed under the com- 
mand and supervision of commissioned 
and noncommissioned officer replace- 
ments who were part of the same ship- 
ment. This command arrangement con- 
tinued while the troops were at the stag- 
ing areas and until they arrived at their 
oversea destinations. The staging areas 
found that casual officers sometimes felt 
little responsibility for control of the men 
under them, thus throwing an unusual 
burden of administration and discipline 
on the staging area personnel. To rectify 
this situation, the War Department stipu- 
lated that when shipments of replace- 
ments numbered more than 200 enlisted 
men, the commanders of replacement 
depots would assign officers from their sta- 
tion complements to act as escorts for the 
shipments and assist with the processing 
and administration of the troops through- 
out the journey overseas. 106 

Although they did not always complete 
the job, the replacement depots relieved 

the staging areas of much of the processing 
that would have been necessary if the 
troops had moved directly from replace- 
ment training centers to the ports. In some 
instances, when requests for replacements 
received from overseas commanders called 
for quick dispatch, the port commanders 
sent processing teams to the replacement 
depots to aid in the preparation of the 
troops so that they could be moved to 
shipside without passing through the stag- 
ing areas. 107 

The problems of maintaining secrecy in 
troop movements was intensified while the 
troops were at the staging areas. The 
troops knew that they were on their way 
overseas and speculation was rife regard- 
ing sailing dates and destinations. Some- 
times details from secret orders were care- 
lessly allowed to get into the hands of 
persons who were not authorized to re- 
ceive such information. Many measures 
were employed to make soldiers realize 
the importance of not giving out informa- 
tion that might be of value to the enemy, 
but complete censorship could not be im- 
posed. Because of the effect on morale, it 
was not considered advisable to hold 
troops incommunicado between the time 

WD Memo W 600-35-43, 1 2 Apr 43, sub: Opn 
of ZI Pers Repl Depots; Changes 1, 11 May 43; 
Changes 2, 7 Sep 43. 

lfH Min of Port Comdrs Conf, Boston, 30 Aug-1 Sep 
43, pp. 232-33, OCT HB PE Gen Port Comdrs Conf. 

" ,s Memo, CG ASF for CofT, 9 Aug 43, OCT HB 
Farr Staybacks; FOR, 1 Oct 43,- par. 3*. 

1(18 Memo, CofT for Mil Pers Div ASF, 18 Sep 43, 
OCT 322 Activation of Units; Memo, TAG for AGF, 
27 Sep 43, sub: Org of Casuals Prior to Staging, AG 
320.2 (18 Sep 43); Wd Memo W 600-72-43. Changes 
2, 1 2 Nov 43 ; WD Cir 3 1 7, 3 1 Jul 44, par. 6. 

,IIT 2d Ind. CofT for CG NYPE, 9 Sep 43, OCT HB 
Farr Staybacks; Min of Port and Zone Comdrs Conf, 
Chicago, 6-9 Jul 44, Mtg of Port Opn, Troop Mvmt, 
and Equip Representatives, 8 Jul 44, p. 13, OCT HB 
PE Gen Port Comdrs Conf. 



of their arrival at the staging area and the 
date they were alerted for embarkation. 108 
Yet their conversation in public places, 
their local and long-distance telephone 
calls, their letters to friends and families, 
and the visits of friends to the staging in- 
stallations furnished constant opportunity 
for the leakage of information on the time 
and direction of prospective movements. 
Information in the hands of the station 
complements at the staging areas, which 
included both military and civilian per- 
sonnel, also had to be guarded. The many 
aspects of this problem commanded the 
constant attention of the intelligence 
officers at the ports, the Intelligence and 
Security Division of the Office of the Chief 
of Transportation, The Inspector General, 
and G-2 of the General Staff. 109 

The emotional state of troops about to 
move overseas was conducive to irrespon- 
sible acts and disorder. Group disturb- 
ances were most likely to involve Negro 
troops since Negroes comprised the larg- 
est group subject to racial tensions. 110 Al- 
though the Chief of Transportation tried 
to forestall trouble by insisting that there 
be no discrimination between races in the 
assignment of barracks, mess halls, and 
recreation facilities, the possibility of dis- 
order was always present. Contributing 
causes were lack of leadership on the part 
of some unit commanders and the limited 
number of military police available. Fol- 
lowing two disturbances that occurred at 
staging areas in 1944 — one at Fort Law- 
ton, Washington, and the other at Camp 
Patrick Henry, Virginia — General Gross 
instituted special measures for preventing 
and handling such situations. 111 He em- 
phasized that the port commanders and 
staging area commanders had primary 
responsibility, and that they could not 
delegate that responsibility to others. Ade- 

quate officer supervision of troops being 
staged was to be assured at all times. 
Daily inspections were to be made and 
any evidences of racial tension promptly 
reported. The commanding officers of 
staging areas were to go immediately to 
the scene of any serious disorder and per- 
sonally take charge of the effort to quell it. 
Immediate and thorough investigations 
were to be made to apprehend the in- 
stigators and the participants, and appro- 
priate disciplinary action was to be taken 
against such persons "without exception." 
These measures were effective, and no fur- 
ther disturbances of consequence occurred 
at the staging areas during the war. 112 

The port commanders made regular re- 
ports to the Chief of Transportation on 
staging area operations, and they in turn 

I(1S Memo, CofT for PEs, 3 Nov 42, sub: Measures 
for Enforcing Secrecy, OCT HB PE Gen St Area 

inn The extent of the problem is indicated in the fol- 
lowing: Memo, G-2 WDGS for Int Br OCT, 5 Feb 
43, sub: Revealing Mil Info, and incls, OCT 370.5 
Secrecy; Memo, CO Camp Myles Standish for CG 
BPE, 28 Oct 43, sub: Censorship Violations at St 
Area, OCT 000.900 Camp Myles Standish 1943; 
Memo, CG ASF for CofT, 6 Mar 44, sub: Censorship 
Instructions at St Areas, and atchd SOP for Censor- 
ship Contl Off at St Areas; Rpt of Base Censorship at 
PEs, source not shown, for weeks in late 1943 and 
early 1944; last two in OCT 000.73, 1943-45; Memo, 
CO Camp Myles Standish for CofT, 14 Oct 44, sub: 
Violations of Security, OCT 000.72 TC Misc. 

11 " On the general question of disturbances involv- 
ing Negroes, see Lee, The Employment of Negro 
Troops in World War II, Chs. XIV, XV. 

111 Lack of preparation and alertness at Fort 
Lawton were indicated in Memo, Asst IG SPE for CG 
SPE, 28 Aug 44, sub: Prelim Rpt on Negro-Italian 
Riot, 14 Aug 44, and later rpts; 2d Ind, CofT for CG 
SPE, 7 Nov 44; all in OCT 291.2 Ft Lawton; for 
resulting directive see Memo, CofT for Port Comdrs, 
16 Nov 44, sub: Handling of Racial Disturbances, 
OCT HB Ex Stay backs. 

1,2 The nature of the problems and the measures 
adopted at Camp Kilmer are illustrated in Rpt, Spe- 
cial Committee to CG ASF, 1 2 Jan 45, sub: Insp of 
Facilities for and Problems Relating to Negro Pers, 
OCT 331.1 Camp Kilmer. 



obtained the reactions of the commanders 
of units being staged. In the fall of 1 944 
the Chief of Transportation directed that 
a report be obtained from each unit com- 
mander just before he sailed. For this pur- 
pose a single-page form was provided, on 
which the unit commander was to place a 
check opposite each of the listed activities 
to indicate whether he considered the per- 
formance excellent, satisfactory, or un- 
satisfactory. 113 Although it was recognized 
that this report would give the impressions 
of an officer who had witnessed only a 
small part of the staging operation and 
had little knowledge of the conditions 
under which that operation was carried 
out, the Chief of Transportation believed 
that a comparison of the reports would 
provide a useful guide in working out fur- 
ther improvements in personnel, facilities, 
and procedures. The Chief of Transporta- 
tion sent a chart summarizing the reports 
pertaining to each staging area to each 
port commander monthly. 114 Although 
some unit commanders indicated that 
they considered certain activities unsatis- 
factory, the preponderance of checks in 
the "excellent" and "satisfactory" col- 
umns brought a strong commendation 
from General Somervell for the over-all 
success of the staging operation. 115 

This was the judgment on staging areas 
late in the war. Earlier there had been fre- 
quent and sometimes severe criticism, and 
the Chief of Transportation had been well 
aware of the need for improvement not 
only in the mechanics of staging but also 
in maintaining morale and discipline. 116 
The complexity of the staging operation, 
the mental state of the troops, and the 
pressure under which staging usually was 
done combined to make this phase of the 
transportation task an especially difficult 
one. In his efforts toward improvement 
the Chief of Transportation was aided on 

the one hand by the emphasis that his 
superiors placed on the importance of the 
activity, and on the other hand by the 
close attention that the port commanders 
gave the subject. 

Embarkation Procedures 

Preparation for embarkation began at 
the staging area twenty-four to seventy- 
two hours in advance of the troops' de- 
parture. This preparation involved co- 
ordination between the Troop Movement 
Division of the port, staging area officials, 
and the commanders of the units or casual 
groups involved. It included the formula- 
tion of a detailed plan covering the move- 
ments of the troops from the time they 
left the staging area until they had been 
installed in their quarters on the ship. The 
passenger list, initially prepared at the 
staging area with names arranged alpha- 
betically, was the key document. From it 
groups were set up and schedules were 
established for transporting the troops to 
the pier and for embarking and billeting 
them. The usual practice was to chalk on 
the soldier's helmet the number that ap- 
peared opposite his name on the passenger 
list. This was done as soon as the unit was 
alerted and the number indicated his 
place in all movements that took place 
subsequently. While the bulk of the troops 
and their TAT (to accompany troops) 
equipment were being organized for em- 

113 TC Cir 50-55, 9 Oct 44, sub: Units in St Areas 
Over 45 Days; OCT Misc Ltr 14, 13 Jan 45, sub: Unit 
Comdrs Rpt, OCT HB PE Gen St Area Procedures. 
Completed reports filed under OCT 370.5 grouped by 
staging areas. 

114 See Memo, CofT for CG SPE, 30 May 45, and 
incl, OCT 3 19. 1 Ft Lawton. 

1 15 Ltr, Gross to Kilpatrick, CG HRPE, 5 Sep 45, 
OCT HB Gross Day File. 

110 See Memo, CofT for CG ASF, 20 Jan 44, sub: 
Current and Anticipated Problems, problems 16 and 
17, OCT 319.1. 



the San Francisco Port of Embarkation, May 1942. 

barkation, an advance party was already 
on the ship preparing for their arrival. 
This party included a loading detail, a 
guard detail, a mess detail, and a medical 
detail. 117 

Although organizational equipment 
was shipped separately, the soldier was 
accompanied on his journey overseas by 
his individual equipment, the greater part 
of which was placed in two barracks bags. 
Usually the "A" bag remained in his pos- 
session throughout the voyage, while the 
"B" bag was stowed in the ship's baggage 
or cargo spaces. In addition to the A bag, 
the soldier carried his weapon, helmet, gas 
mask, and pack — all together a heavy load. 
When barracks bags were inspected at the 
staging areas an effort was made to elim- 

inate from the A bag any equipment that 
would not be required during the voyage, 
but the tendency among enlisted men was 
to put as much as possible in the A bag, 
and they often encumbered themselves 
further with musical instruments and 
other personal possessions. Many officers 
complained about the heavy burden the 
men had to carry whenever they moved 
and about the congestion that the A bags 
created in the limited sleeping quarters 

117 Considerable information used in this section 
has been taken from an address, "Troop Movement 
Embarkation," by Lt. Col. Leo J. Meyer, Troop 
Movement Officer, NYPE, at the Atlantic Coast TC 
Officers Training School, Fort Slocum, N.Y., during 
the spring of 1943, filed in OCT HB Fort Slocum Lec- 
tures. Although practices differed somewhat at the 
different ports, they followed the same general 



on the troopships, but no substantial re- 
duction was made in the load. The bar- 
racks bag was redesigned during the war 
with the intention of making it more man- 
ageable. There were differences of opin- 
ion, however, as to whether the new bag 
was an improvement over the old one 
from that standpoint. In some instances, 
when conditions at the oversea port of de- 
barkation were favorable, both barracks 
bags were stowed in the ship's hold and 
the soldier carried something similar to a 
small laundry bag, but this was not a gen- 
eral practice. 118 

The movement from the staging area to 
the pier was arranged by the port trans- 
portation officer. The Traffic Control 
Division in the Office of the Chief of 
Transportation did not undertake to route 
this traffic when it involved only a short 
haul between two stations under the same 
port commander. The movement was 
made by rail, motor, or small boat accord- 
ing to the circumstances, and sometimes 
by a combination of carriers. At New 
York, troops leaving Camp Kilmer or 
Camp Shanks usually were transported 
by rail to Jersey City, where they were 
transferred to ferry boats that discharged 
them at the river end of the pier where the 
transport was docked. Late in the war the 
San Francisco Port of Embarkation ex- 
perimented with docking a Liberty ship 
at Camp Stoneman and embarking troops 
there, but this did not become a practice 
because of navigational difficulties. 119 The 
location of most staging areas rendered 
this procedure either impossible or im- 
practicable. Throughout the journey from 
the staging area to the transport the troops 
remained in passenger-list order, accord- 
ing to the numbers on their helmets. 

The same order was maintained after 
arrival at the pier. Generally there was a 

short pause while units that had arrived 
earlier were being checked at the gang- 
way. During this interval refreshments 
were served by Red Cross workers. When 
a unit's turn came, the troops approached 
the embarkation desk in single file and in 
passenger-list order. In addition to the 
personnel team, which was present to 
check the men against the passenger list 
and the service records, the unit com- 
mander or some other officer was there to 
identify each individual. When a soldier's 
name was called, he responded, received 
his compartment number, and immedi- 
ately boarded the ship. When no one re- 
sponded to the name read, that name was 
scratched from the passenger list and the 
corresponding service record was with- 
drawn. Steps then were taken to account 
for the individual's absence, and the in- 
formation obtained was entered on the list 
and the record. Usually absences were due 
to late withdrawals of men from units on 
account of physical or mental illness. Al- 
though the number of men who went 
AWOL while at the staging area consti- 
tuted a considerable problem, there was 
little opportunity for this to occur after the 
unit had been alerted for embarkation. 
Company grade officers usually followed 
their men into the ship immediately so as 
to observe their billeting. Field grade 
officers usually went aboard later. 

The entire embarkation program was 
timed so as to move the troops through 
one phase to another with as little delay as 
possible. As experience was gained the 
ports succeeded in executing embarka- 
tions with remarkable precision. This pre- 

118 Remarks by Col Robert R. Litehiser at Mtg of 
Port Opn, Troop Mvmt, and Equip Representatives, 
8 Jul 44, in Min of Port and Zone Conf, OCT HB PE 
Gen Port Comdrs Conf. 

11S Ltr, SFPE to author, 9 Feb 51, OCT HB SFPE 
Camp Stoneman. 



ARMY NURSES ENTRAINING AT CAMP KILMER for the New York Port of Embarkation. 

cision was especially necessary in moving 
troops along the pier and into the ship, 
because they all passed over one or two 
gangways and there was a consequent 
threat of congestion in the narrow pas- 
sageways on the vessel. The danger that 
this last phase of embarkation might be- 
come a bottleneck was reduced by careful 
scheduling and by thorough instruction of 
the loading and the guard details, which 
had arrived in advance of the troops. In 
the case of the British troopships Queen 
Mary and Queen Elizabeth, which some- 
times embarked as many as 15,000 sol- 
diers on a single voyage, the loading was 
accomplished in as little as five hours from 
the time of arrival of the first troops at the 
pier to the passing of the last man over the 

gangway. When the U.S. Army began 
using the Queens for moving troops to 
England in 1942, the embarkations were 
slowed by differences in British and Amer- 
ican practices, but these differences were 
soon adjusted through close co-operation 
between representatives of the British 
Ministry of War Transport in New York 
and the New York Port of Embarkation. 120 
As soon as embarking troops crossed the 
gangway they were taken in charge by 
members of the loading detail and guided 
to their quarters. 121 Upon arrival at his 
compartment the soldier was instructed to 

520 Interv with Lt Col Leo J. Meyer, 31 Jan 51, 
OCT HB PE Gen Troop Embarkations. 

121 For instructions to loading officers, see Ship's 
Regulations, USAT George Washington, 25 Jun 43, 
par. 17, OCT 232-900 George Washington. 



TROOPS LEAVING CAMP MYLES STANDISH for the Boston Port of Embarkation. 

arrange his equipment as snugly as possi- 
ble in the limited space assigned to him 
and then to get into his bunk and remain 
there until announcement was made that 
the embarkation had been completed. 
Usually the men were glad to avail them- 
selves of the opportunity to rest, and this 
was particularly true when embarkations 
were made late at night. Such movements 
as were necessary were closely controlled 
by the guard detail. These controls were 
necessary because, if the troops already on 
board had been permitted to move about, 
the billeting of those arriving later in the 
crowded compartments would have been 

The billeting plan was worked out in 
advance by the port's embarkation staff 

and was checked with the actual accom- 
modations after the ship arrived in port. 122 
Since this plan was co-ordinated with the 
transportation plan under which the 
troops were moved from staging area to 
shipside, last minute changes in billeting 
were kept to a minimum. In billeting en- 
listed men the basic objective was to keep 
units together, since that arrangement 
aided the exercise of command and the 
control of movement. To the same end 
noncommissioned officers were billeted 
with the enlisted men, and commissioned 
officers of company grade were placed in 

122 WD FM 55-105, Water Trans, Ocean-going 
Vessels, 25 Sep 44, p. 43. The billeting plan for the 
large British transports was worked out in conjunction 
with representatives of the BMWT and the master. 



staterooms as near their men as possi- 
ble. 123 Officers normally were assigned to 
staterooms by the port commanders in ac- 
cordance with their military rank. An 
AAF proposal that length of combat serv- 
ice also be considered in making such 
assignments was rejected by the Chief of 
Transportation as "impracticable." 124 

The transport commander was author- 
ized to consider complaints regarding 
billeting and to take corrective action 
when the objections were valid and 
changes were possible. Such complaints 
were inevitable despite the care generally 
used in preparing the billeting plan, and 
the plan was not always above criticism. 125 
The tactful transport commander usually 
could appease dissatisfied officers by ar- 
ranging an exchange of accommodations 
or explaining why this could not be done. 
On a heavily booked transport changes in 
the berthing of enlisted men were virtually 

The number of troops placed on a 
transport depended on the facilities that 
the vessel provided, the urgency of over- 
sea requirements, the season, and the 
length of the voyage. Three capacities 
were established for each vessel — normal 
load, overload, and maximum load. 126 
The normal load was reckoned from the 
number of berths normally available. 
Overloading required that two men use 
the same bunk alternately, and might in- 
volve the installation of additional tempo- 
rary bunks. Maximum loading was over- 
loading carried to the practicable limit. 
The assignment of two soldiers to the same 
bunk — generally referred to as double 
bunking — did not mean that twice the 
normal load could be carried, for the max- 
imum load was usually determined by the 
capacity of the messing facilities or by the 
extent of the deck spaces and public rooms 

available for recreation and other activi- 
ties. 127 In all cases the total number of 
passengers and crewmen was kept within 
the capacity of the lifesaving equipment, 
and the ports complied with other rules 
pertaining to the safety of passengers 
established by the Navy and the Coast 
Guard. 128 

Overloading is necessary when large 
forces must be moved overseas because the 
normal shipping capacity does not equal 
the emergency requirements. It is un- 
avoidable in wartime and when properly 
controlled does not impose a serious hard- 
ship on the soldiers. 129 The Transportation 

123 Memo, CofT for CG NYPE, 18 Jul 42, sub: Rpt 
of Investigation, Queen Elizabeth, OCT HB Meyer 
Staybacks; Memo, CofT for PEs, 27 Dec 43, sub: 
Combat Crews, OCT HB Farr Staybacks. 

v " Memo, CofT for CG AAF, 19 Aug 44, sub: 
Treatment of Crew Pers Returning from ETO, OCT 
HB Farr Staybacks. 

12fl To illustrate, see Memo, British Army Staff for 
WD, 10 Jul 43, and CofT's reply, 20 Jul 43, sub: 
Asgmt of Off; both in OCT 524-541.1 N.Y.; Memo, 
Col M. Cordero for TAG, 19 Oct 44, and Memo, 
CofT for CO LAPE, 10 Apr 45, sub: Shipt 2086; both 
in OCT 333.7 General A. F, Anderson. 

™ B Memo, Mvmts Div for Water Div OCT, 1 7 May 
43, sub: Capacity of Troopships, OCT HB Farr Stay- 
backs; TC Cir 80-12, 22 Jan 44, sub: Capacity of Pers 
Transports, and atchd OCT Form 46, OCT HB PE 
Gen Transport Capacity. 

127 Ltr, Farr to author, 14 Feb 50, OCT HB Mvmts 
Div Gen. The first double bunking in World War II 
was on the Siboney, the Thomas H. Barry, and the 
Arthur Murray, which sailed from the NYPE for the 
United Kingdom on 31 May 1942; Memo, Opns Off 
for Water Div OCT, 15 May 42, sub: Increased Troop 
Capacities; Memo, CofT for CG NYPE, 20 May 42; 
Memo, Col Claude E. Stadtman for CG NYPE, 9 Jun 
42, sub: Overloading of Siboney; last three in OCT HB 
Meyer Staybacks; Rpt, 1 1 Jun 42, by Lt Col Peter C. 
Hains, CO of Troops, Thomas H. Barry, OCT HB PE 
Gen Troop Embarkation. 

128 Memo, Cofr for PEs, 1 7 Aug 42, sub: Maximum 
Allowable Number of Passengers, and atchd Memo, 
DCofS US Fleet for Dir Convoy and Routing Sec 
USN, 15 Aug 42, sub: Limitations on Number of 
Passengers, OCT 541.1 Small Groups. 

129 Memo, TIG for CofS, 9 Sep 42, sub: Overseas 
Mvmts, WDCSA 370.5 (Secret). 



Corps adapted the practice to the various 
types of vessels, recognizing that some of 
them were more suitable for overloading 
than others. It took cognizance of the fact 
that soldiers could endure conditions on 
the shorter and cooler North Atlantic voy- 
ages that would become intolerable in the 
tropics or on the long transpacific routes. 
Cold or stormy weather, which made it 
impossible to quarter troops on the decks, 
necessitated limiting the load to the num- 
ber that could be properly accommodated 
within the superstructure and below deck, 
where the capacity of the ventilating sys- 
tem often was a limiting factor. 

From a medical standpoint it was pref- 
erable to limit troopship loads during the 
winter months to the normal capacity, 
but such a policy could not be applied 
uniformly since it would have seriously re- 
tarded the build-up of military strength 
overseas. 130 When the demand for troops 
in the European theater eased somewhat 
during the late winter of 1944-45, the 
Chief of Transportation authorized the 
port commanders to avoid overloading so 
far as possible and to distribute the troops 
to be moved among the scheduled vessels 
in such a way as to obtain maximum 
comfort. 131 During the summer and fall of 
1945 overloading was again resorted to as 
a means of redeploying and repatriating 
troops as rapidly as possible. 

Since troopship capacity usually was 
less than the military authorities desired, 
every effort was made to see that ships did 
not sail with empty passenger spaces, but 
full loading could not be uniformly ac- 
complished. Late changes in priorities and 
the failure of some troops to arrive at the 
ports sufficiently early were among the 
reasons for allowing ships to sail with 
empty passenger spaces. The port com- 
manders frequently had troops on hand 

that could be substituted in such contin- 
gencies, but this was not always the case. 
A ship sailing to several oversea ports with 
small numbers of troops to be delivered at 
each might sail with some of its bunks un- 
occupied. Cargo vessels, with limited pas- 
senger capacities, often were destined for 
ports where no troops were needed. A 
study of 187 ships that sailed from Ameri- 
can ports under Army auspices in May 
1944 produced some interesting data. 
These data must be viewed with some 
reservations because of the short period 
covered and the elasticity of the rated ca- 
pacities — it must be assumed that normal 
capacities are referred to — but they never- 
theless are significant. The troopships 
with spaces for more than 2,000 men were 
loaded to 99 percent of capacity. Vessels 
capable of carrying not over 500 pas- 
sengers were loaded to only 49 percent of 
capacity. Taking the group as a whole, the 
loading was 88 percent of capacity. 132 

Secrecy with regard to troop embarka- 
tions obviously was necessary, but there 
were different opinions as to the measures 
required to insure it. Some aspects of se- 
curity pertaining to troops en route to the 
ports and at the staging areas have 
already been mentioned. 133 The primary 
purpose of secrecy was to avoid disclosing 
sailing dates and unit designations. Dur- 
ing the early months of the war instruc- 
tions were issued to insure that information 
pertaining to prospective troop move- 
ments and ship sailings was restricted to 
the smallest practical numbers of persons, 

•™ Memo, Port Surgeon for CG HRPE, 1 3 Dec 43, 
sub: Overloads in Winter; 1st Ind, GG HRPE for 
CofT, 14 Dec 43; both in OCT HB Farr Staybacks.- 

1,1 Msg, CofT for CGs NYPE and BPE, 13 Mar 
45, OCT HB Farr Staybacks. 

132 ASF MPR ,Jul44, Sec. 3, p. 44. 

133 See above, |pp. 123-24. | 



both in the War Department and at the 
ports. 13 " 1 Some months later the Chief of 
Transportation announced that it would 
be standard operating procedure at all 
ports for embarkation to take place under 
cover of darkness. 1115 But provision was 
made for exceptions and the exceptions 
were numerous, since it was recognized 
that nighttime embarkation had limited 
security value. Moreover, many ships that 
were loaded at night sailed in broad 

The Army regulation on security of in- 
formation effective in 1942 provided for 
the exclusion of persons not having official 
business from the piers and forbade the 
playing of bands at embarkations. In 
April 1943 the latter prohibition was with- 
drawn and port commanders were per- 
mitted to use bands when they believed 
security would not be jeopardized. 13 " 
There was sharp difference of opinion in 
the War Department on the application 
of security rules to the use of bands and 
Red Cross personnel. The Chief of Trans- 
portation believed that to have a band 
playing while troops were entraining at 
the staging areas and while they were em- 
barking at the ports was an excellent 
means of bolstering morale. 137 He also 
favored permitting members of the Ameri- 
can Red Cross to distribute food to troops 
while they were on the piers waiting to 
embark. These views were concurred in 
by General Somervell, OPD, and G-l, but 
G-2 took an opposite stand. 138 

The matter came to a head in the sum- 
mer of 1943, when the British Chiefs of 
Staff entered a protest with the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff against bands and Red 
Cross activities on the piers so far as 
they affected the larger British vessels, 
and also against the admission of press 
representatives to the piers during embar- 

kations. ns The Inspector General was di- 
rected to investigate the matter and his 
conclusion was that the use of bands and 
Red Cross activities did not constitute a 
breach of security. 140 General Marshall 
then reported to the CCS that the presence 
of the press at the embarkation that gave 
rise to the British protest had been a 
special occasion arranged by the Acting 
Secretary of War and that newspaper 
stories had not been published until after 
the ship had reached its oversea destina- 
tion. General Marshall further stated that 
the use of bands and the admission of Red 
Cross workers to the piers would be con- 
tinued but that they would be strictly con- 
trolled. 141 This was the policy followed for 
the remainder of the war. 

Not all port commanders were agreed 
on the practical value of dispensing food 
on the piers, but the majority favored the 
practice. 14 - There was general agreement 
among them regarding the value of bands, 
which they believed not only buoyed the 

1 14 Memo, AGofS G-4 for CofS, 1 1 Feb 42, sub: 
Dissemination of Info; Memos, C of Trans Br G-4 for 
PEs, 14 and 25 Feb 42; all in G-4/297 1 7- 1 18. 

i:a Memo, CofT for PEs. 1 May 42. sub: Security 
and Secrecy Measures, OCT 000.72, 

™"AR 380-5, 28 Sep 42, par. 65a and b, and 
Changes 10, 20 Apr 43. 

1:17 Memo, CofT for Col Fremont B. Hodson and 
other officers of OCT, 3 Oct 42, OCT HB Gross Dav 

' :,B Memo, ACofS G- 1 for CofS, 1 2 Apr 43, sub: Use 
of Bands, WDCSA 370.5 (Secret); Memo, G-2 for CG 
ASF, 16 Jul 43, sub: Activities at PEs, CCS 371.2 

CCS 273, 8 Jul 43; CCS 273/1, 28 Jul 43. 

Memo, TIG for CG ASF, 2 1 Jul 43, sub: Secu- 
rity Arrangements During Emb, ASF Hq Somervell 
File 1943. 

' *' CCS 105th Mtg, 6 Aug 43, Item 8; Memo, CofT 
for CG ASF, 11 Aug 43, OCT 370.5 Agencies at 
Ports; Memo, CofT for PEs, 7 Oct 43, OCT HB Farr 
Stay backs. 

Min of Port Comdrs Conf, New Orleans, 1 1-14 
Jan 44, pp. 90-91, OCT HB PE Gen Port Comdrs 



RED CROSS WORKERS WAVING TO TROOPS aboard an Army transport leaving 
the Boston Port of Embarkation. 

morale of the troops but helped the em- 
barkation officers to keep them in proper 
order and moving briskly. 

Immediately after each troopship de- 
parture the port of embarkation made a 
full report to the War Department. Copies 
of passenger lists as corrected at the gang- 
way were sent to the Chief of Transporta- 
tion and The Adjutant General, and 
copies, of course, were given to the trans- 
port commanders. Various summaries 
were required by the Chief of Transporta- 
tion showing the passengers according to 
shipment numbers, types of personnel 
(units, replacements, fillers, and so forth), 
and arms and services. The summaries 

also showed the control status of each 
ship — that is, whether it was under con- 
trol of the Army, the Navy, and War Ship- 
ping Administration, or a foreign nation. 143 
Because of the submarine menace it was 
considered desirable to notify relatives as 
soon as soldiers arrived overseas. This was 
accomplished in the beginning by having 
"safe arrival cards" prepared before the 
ship sailed, and mailing them from the 
port of embarkation as soon as a message 
was received that the vessel had arrived at 
its destination. Early in 1943 the style of 

141 AR 55-385, 31 Dec 42; TC Cir 50-8, revised, 10 
Apr 44, sub: Passenger Lists and Passenger Sum- 
maries; TC Cir 50-23, 27 Apr 44, sub: Classification 
of Outbound Passengers. 



card was changed so that reference to safe 
arrival was omitted and only the Army 
Post Office (APO) number and the cable 
address were given. Later in the same year 
the procedure was again changed and a 
V-mail form was provided. The V-mail 
form was filled out at the port of embarka- 
tion or on the ship but was not mailed 
until after the soldier had arrived overseas 
and his APO number and cable address 
had been definitely established. This pro- 
cedure prevented the large amount of mis- 
directed mail that had resulted from the 
use of tentative APO numbers. 144 

In 1942 when many National Guard 
units were being sent overseas, General 
Marshall made it a practice to send per- 
sonal letters of notification to the gov- 
ernors of the respective states as soon as 
the arrival of the ships at destination had 
been reported. While he intended that the 
governors, through means at their dis- 
posal, should notify relatives of the mem- 
bers of the units, General Marshall point- 
ed out that the code of wartime practices 
would not permit the publication of this 
information in the press. 145 

The great majority of the troops sent 
overseas were not expected to land against 
opposition and were therefore embarked 
according to the regular procedures. 
When task forces were embarked to as- 
sault hostile shores, the embarkation re- 
quirements were somewhat different. In 
that case the entire personnel constituted 
a combat team and their billeting was 
governed by that fact. Also, so far as possi- 
ble the organizational equipment and 
supplies were loaded in the same ship with 
the troops and were stowed in such a way 
that they could be put ashore quickly and 
in the order in which they would be 
needed. The vessels in such operations 

were said to be combat loaded; they were 
small or medium types and were specially 
equipped for the purpose. The billeting of 
troops and the stowing of the impedimenta 
were determined by the force commander, 
although he usually made his plans in 
consultation with the port commander. 146 
Although most amphibious assaults 
were mounted in the theaters, a few were 
mounted at home ports. The first large as- 
sault force loaded at a U.S. port during 
the war was the Western Task Force, com- 
manded by Maj. Gen. George S. Patton, 
Jr., which participated in the invasion of 
North Africa. The major elements were 
loaded at the Hampton Roads Port of 
Embarkation in October 1942. The time 
for planning had been short and ideas re- 
garding materiel requirements varied 
greatly. There was considerable confusion 
at the port because of the lack of estab- 
lished procedures and the difficulty of 
achieving complete co-ordination between 
the task force commander, the port com- 
mander, and the naval officer who com- 
manded the expedition afloat. Through 
attention to lessons learned from this ex- 
perience, the embarkation of Maj. Gen. 
Troy H. Middleton's force for the invasion 
of Sicily, accomplished at Hampton 
Roads in June 1943, proceeded much 
more smoothly. 147 The same may be said 

144 WD Cir 191, 15Jun42, Sec. VII; WD Cir 36, 
2 Feb 43, Sec. IV; WD Cir 197, 2 Sep 43, Sec. Ill; 
Memo, Dir Army Postal Sv for AGO, 1 Jun 43, AG 
31 1.1 (1-6-43) WD Cir 36. 

145 See file WDCSA 370.5 (Secret) for correspond- 
ence with governors. 

148 AR 55-390, 16 Dec 42, par. 10c. 

147 Richard M. Leighton and Robert W. Coakley, 
Global Logistics and Strategy: 1940-1943, UNITED 
ton, 1955), Ch. XVI; OCT HB Monograph 13, pp. 
50-59. See also articles by Brig Gen John R. Kilpat- 
rick, CG HRPE, "Task Force A" and "Task Force 
B," Army Transportation Journal, II, 6-8 (September 
1946) and 26-28 (October 1946). 



for the forces sent against Attu and Kiska, 
which were loaded on the west coast in 
April and July 1943. 

The key to smooth embarkation was 
thorough planning and procedures that 
were fully developed and completely 
understood by all concerned; improviza- 
tion had to be reduced to a minimum. 
Such procedures were fairly well worked 
out during the first year of the war so far 
as regular embarkations were concerned 
by close co-ordination of the activities of 
the staging areas and the several operating 
divisions of the ports of embarkation, all 
functioning under the supervision of the 
port commanders. There were not enough 
embarkations of assault forces at U.S. 
ports to enable procedures to be developed 
to anything approaching the same degree 
of refinement, and the problem was com- 
plicated by the fact that the interests of 
the task force commanders and the naval 
commanders, as well as those of the port 
commanders, had to be taken into 

Troopship Administration 

The administration of a troop transport 
was complicated by problems that did not 
exist in other military commands. One 
reason for this was the crowded and ab- 
normal conditions under which the troops 
lived while on board. Another was the 
variety of passengers carried — uniformed 
men and women of all of the American 
armed forces, and usually military person- 
nel of our Allies and some civilians. Yet 
another reason lay in the fact that three 
independent authorities were exercised 
side by side — that of the master, who had 
full responsibility for the ship; that of the 
transport commander, who was solely re- 

sponsible for the passengers; and that of 
the commander of the naval armed guard 
or gun crew. Administration was further 
complicated by the fact that the trans- 
ports were operated under the control and 
according to the standards of the U.S. 
Navy, the War Shipping Administration, 
and the British Ministry of War Transport, 
in addition to the Army. 

The transport commander was in 
command of all personnel on board ex- 
cept the ship's crew and the naval armed 
guard. He was the chief of the permanent 
military complement on the vessel, and in 
matters affecting the administration of the 
ship his authority was superior to that of 
the officers who were traveling as passen- 
gers, even though they might outrank him. 
His relationship with the unit commanders 
was that of a station commander to the 
commanders of units bivouacked at his 
station. During peacetime the chief of the 
permanent military complement, then 
known as the commanding officer of 
troops, had been required to yield his 
command whenever a line officer of supe- 
rior rank was on board and to serve as a 
member of that officer's staff. The arrange- 
ment was found to be impracticable after 
troop movements by water became large, 
and in 1942 the position of transport com- 
mander was created. 148 Most unit com- 
manders had no experience in dealing 
with the wartime problems of troopship 
administration, and some of them, upon 
assuming command of the personnel on 
board, tried to revise the established pro- 
cedures according to their own ideas. The 
confusion that ensued emphasized the 
need for transport commanders who would 

,J8 AR 30-1 130, 23 Jul 32, par. 1; WD Cir 109, 6 
Jun 41, Sec. IV; AR 55-320, 7 Dec 4-2, Sec. I, and 
Changes 1, 26 Jan 43; AR 55-315, 11 Nov 44. 



serve continuously in that office with 
unbroken authority. 149 

The transport commander was assigned 
by, and exercised his authority as a repre- 
sentative of, an Army port commander. In 
the beginning port commanders were re- 
quired to select line officers as transport 
commanders, but because of the difficulty 
of obtaining qualified men the limitation 
was lifted and officers of the supply serv- 
ices assigned to duty with the Transporta- 
tion Corps could be selected. 150 The ports 
of embarkation maintained offices through 
which the transport commanders received 
their instructions and filed their voyage 
reports and recommendations. The impor- 
tance of the post and the need for uniform 
instruction and over-all supervision caused 
the Movements Division to recommend in 
January 1944 that it be granted personnel 
for the establishment of a new branch to 
deal especially with transport commanders 
and transport complements. Such a unit 
was not activated, however, until May 
1945, and uniform instructions for trans- 
port commanders were not published by 
the Office of the Chief of Transportation 
until after the war had ended. 151 

The duties of the transport commander 
were varied and exacting. Before each 
voyage he made a thorough inspection of 
his ship and prepared a plan for utilizing 
the facilities in a way that would best 
serve the troops and other passengers who 
were scheduled to embark. It was neces- 
sary to have instructions applicable to the 
passengers ready for distribution and 
guard details ready to enforce them when 
embarkation began, otherwise confusion 
would ensue. The location of billeting 
areas, mess halls, recreation areas, latrines, 
and passageways were charted. Emer- 
gency abandon-ship stations were assigned 
to the troops in each billeting area, and 

regulations covering fire and boat drills 
and blackouts were posted. A plan was 
prepared for feeding the troops, which in 
the larger ships involved continuous opera- 
tion of the galleys and mess halls. The loca- 
tion of guard posts to control traffic, pro- 
tect stores, and insure discipline were de- 
termined. Orders were issued relating to 
dress, general conduct, and sanitation. 
Plans were laid for the recreation, instruc- 
tion, and training of the troops. Off limits 
and smoking areas were defined. Provi- 
sions were made for the administration 
and security of the sales commissary. The 
requirements for work details to be pro- 
vided by unit commanders were deter- 
mined, including details for the operation 
of the messes, the handling of stores, and 
the performance of guard and general 
police duty. Throughout the voyage the 
transport commander had to be constantly 
alert to insure that all general and special 
orders he had issued were enforced. 152 

The military complement, which func- 
tioned under the supervision of the trans- 

149 Interv with Col Herbert S. Duncombe, 26 Feb 
51, OCT HB PE Gen Transport Complement. Colo- 
nel Duncombe served as both commanding officer of 
troops and transport commander, sailing out of New 

,3,) AR 600-20, 1 Jun 42, par. 3a; Memo, CG NYPE 
for CofT, 2 Dec 42; Memo, CG SOS for ACofS G-l, 
22 Mar 43; last two in AG 210.72 (4-1-42) AR 600-20; 
AR 600-20, Changes 2, 26 Jan 43, and Changes 3, 9 
Apr 43. 

" 1 Memo, Farr for Wylie, 31 Jan 44, OCT HB 
Farr Staybacks; Memo by Lt Col Richard C. Mar- 
shall, 20 Jun 45, incorporated in Mvmt Div Hist, 
OCT HB Mvmts Div Gen; TC Pamphlet 44, Trans- 
port Comdrs Guide, Mar 46. 

152 AR 55-430, 19 Sep 42, sub: Conduct of Passen- 
gers; AR 55-435, 1 Sep 42, sub: Routine of Passengers; 
TC Pamphlet 44, cited n. 151; -NYPE, Instructions 
for Transport Comdrs, 1 May 43, OCT HB NYPE 
Transport Comdrs; Maj F. H. Mayne, Duties of a 
Transport Commander, address at Atlantic Coast 
TC Offs Tng School, OCT HB Fort Slocum Lectures; 
SFPE Transport Comdrs Manual, May 45, OCT HB 
PE Gen Transport Complements. 



port commander, varied in size according 
to the troop capacity of the vessel, and 
eventually the number of members and 
their ranks were specified by the Chief of 
Transportation. 153 This complement com- 
prised personnel assigned to the office of 
the transport commander, the office of the 
transport surgeon, the office of the chap- 
lain, and the signal section. The total 
authorized personnel of these offices 
ranged from four on vessels capable of 
carrying 50 to 100 troops to thirty-two on 
transports carrying 6,000 or more. In 
addition, the transport commander super- 
vised the ship transportation officer (ini- 
tially called cargo security officer), whose 
function was to prevent the mishandling 
or pilferage of Army cargo, and the ship 
transportation agent (civilian), who ad- 
ministered supplies and funds on vessels 
operated by the Army. 154 All members of 
troopship complements were selected and 
assigned by the Army port commanders 
under whose jurisdictions the respective 
vessels were placed by the Chief of 
Tr ansportati on . 1 5 5 

In order to forestall jurisdictional dis- 
putes, the duties and relationships of the 
masters of Army -operated transports, the 
transport commanders, and the com- 
manders of units traveling on such vessels 
were clearly defined in Army regula- 
tions. 156 These regulations sufficed also for 
vessels operated by agents of the War 
Shipping Administration and allocated to 
the Army. A more complex problem of 
jurisdiction developed when large num- 
bers of Army personnel began traveling on 
transports operated by the Navy and on 
WSA transports allocated to the Navy. 
On such vessels the naval commanding 
officers insisted on paramount authority 
with respect to all passengers. There were 
frequent misunderstandings until a set of 

rules was worked out by the Chief of 
Transportation and the Naval Transpor- 
tation Service that removed the principal 
causes of discord.' 57 After these rules were 
issued in the spring of 1944, no Army 
transport commanders were placed on 
troopships that were under Navy control, 
and the military complements that super- 
vised the Army personnel traveling on 
such vessels were subordinate to the rank- 
ing naval officers on board. A correspond- 
ing relationship was established with 
respect to naval personnel traveling on 
vessels under the control of the Army. 

Under arrangements with the British 
Army Staff and the British Ministry of 
War Transport, American military com- 
plements, headed by transport com- 
manders, were placed on the larger British 
vessels that carried U.S. troops regu- 
larly. 158 The British Army also placed 
military complements on these vessels, and 
the British officers in charge had author- 
ity over the American staffs. Although 
their methods were different, harmonious 
relationships prevailed between the two 
groups, and during the period when U.S. 
troops were utilizing most of the space on 
these vessels, the British complements were 

1,1 TC Pamphlet 24, Ships' Complements and 
Cargo Security Officers, 29 May 45, Sec. I and Tables 
A and B. 

114 AR 55-320, 1 1 Nov 44; WD Cir 141, 12 May 45, 
Sec. II. 

'** Memo. CofT for PEs, 7 Mar 44, Ports of Assign- 
ment of WSA Vessels, OCT 320.2, 1944 Gen. 

15S AR 30-1130, 23Jul 32; WD Cir 109, 6Jun 41; 
Sec. IV; AR 55-320, 7 Dec 42. 

Memo, HRPE for CofT, 23 Feb 44, and 1st Ind 
by CofT, 10 Mar 44, OCT 560. 11 Hampton Roads; 
Wardlow, op, W/.. lp. 2081 WD Cir 167, 29 Apr 44; 
WD Memo 55-44, 22 May 45, sub: Principles Gov- 
erningjurisdiction and Operating Procedure Aboard 
Army, Navy, and Allocated Troop Transports. 

15,1 Memo, Wylie for Styer, 22 Sep 42, ASF Hq 
CofS Trans; Memo, CofT for CofT ETO, 22 Apr 44; 
1st Ind, CofT for CofT ETO, 22 Jun 44; last two in 
OCT 320.2 ETO. 



greatly reduced and the American trans- 
port commanders were permitted to fol- 
low their own procedures. When consider- 
able numbers of Canadian troops were 
being carried, the Canadian Army also 
placed transport commanders on board. 

The principal problems encountered in 
moving American troops on British vessels 
stemmed from differences in facilities, 
services, and food. The capacities of the 
British vessels had been greatly increased 
when they entered U.S. troop service, and 
in some respects the facilities had not been 
increased and improved correspondingly, 
because of the scarcity of equipment and 
the quick dispatch that the vessels were 
given in British ports. When these defi- 
ciencies came to light in the prevoyage 
inspection to which all troopships, Ameri- 
can and foreign, were subjected by the 
U.S. Army port commanders, immediate 
steps were taken to correct them. British 
troops traveling on U.S. vessels also com- 
plained about the facilities and the food. 
It was not practicable to undertake to 
eliminate all difference in standards, but 
an agreement was reached regarding 
the minimum standards to be provided 
on British and American troopships, 
respectively. 159 

The crowded condition of the ships, 
even when only the normal load was being 
carried, invariably involved inconvenience 
and discomfort for the passengers, particu- 
larly the enlisted men. In severe winter 
weather and in the tropics additional 
hardships were encountered. The efforts 
to offset these conditions by entertainment 
and exercise were handicapped by limited 
space. All that the transport commander 
could do was to make the best possible use 
of the facilities that were available. To this 
end he made a daily inspection of the ves- 
sel, accompanied by other members of his 

complement and by one of the ship's offi- 
cers, to determine that the ventilating and 
sanitary systems were working, that the 
galleys and mess halls were being operated 
properly, that the medical department 
was fulfilling its responsibilities, and that 
cleanliness and order were being main- 
tained throughout. During these inspec- 
tions the transport commander noted 
repairs and replacements that should be 
made on the next call at the home port 
and also the improvements or additions to 
the facilities that were needed. His recom- 
mendations on these points were sub- 
mitted to the home port commander with 
his voyage report. 160 

As an aid to morale the Chief of 
Transportation endeavored to bring the 
messes on troop transports to as high a 
standard as could be attained with the 
limited space available for galleys and 
mess halls and the large number of pas- 
sengers to be fed. Notwithstanding this 
effort, the food service sometimes was un- 
satisfactory, particularly on ships that 
were just entering service and those mak- 
ing long voyages through the tropics. Dur- 
ing a considerable part of the war troops 
bound overseas were given two full meals 
each day, which was considered adequate 
in view of the relatively inactive life that 
the men were compelled to lead while at 
sea. Even then the troop messes on some 
ships had to be in continuous operation 
throughout the day in order to take care 
of the numerous shifts into which the men 
were divided. Late in the war this policy 
was modified so that two and one-half 
meals were served — that is, full meals in 

15! * Concerning this agreement, see Wardlow, op. 
«V., |p. 225. 1 

la " See NYPE, General Instructions for Transport^" 
Gomdrs, t May 43. 




the morning and in the evening, and a 
light meal at noon. 181 

During 1943 there was some improve- 
ment in troopship messes resulting from an 
ASF program to better the food service 
throughout the Army. 182 The special mess 
adviser assigned by the Chief of Transpor- 
tation to this task early in 1944 got good 
results, but he was limited to vessels oper- 
ated by the Army and by WSA agents and 
had no jurisdiction over the messes on 
troopships operated by the U.S. Navy or 
the British. The Navy provided messes 
comparable in general to those on Army 
transports. As a rule, the American soldier 
did not like the food on British troopships, 
and when large numbers of U.S. troops 

were traveling on British vessels, as was 
the case between New York and the United 
Kingdom, the Transportation Corps sup- 
plied the U.S. Army ration for those troops 
and also provided American personnel to 
supplement the British galley crews. 

Because of the large number of troops to 
be fed, it was necessary to serve them, dis- 
pose of the remaining food, and clean the 
utensils as rapidly as possible. The service 
was cafeteria style and the Army's first 
plan was to have the soldier use his field 

161 Memo, CofT for PEs, 1 3 May 44, sub: Orienta- 
tion Course in Transport Messing, OCT HB PE Gen 
Transport Complements and Services; TC Cir 80-17, 
25 Jan 45, sub: Troop Messing Aboard Vessels. 

162 Wardlow, op. q'f., |pp. 243-45.| 



mess kit, eat while standing, and clean his 
own equipment. This plan was adopted 
early in the war because of the difficulty 
in obtaining satisfactory compartmented 
trays and the machinery for cleaning and 
sterilizing them. The Navy on the other 
hand favored the use of trays and sit-down 
service. In 1944, in view of the large num- 
ber of new troopships being used jointly in 
the Pacific and the development of a suit- 
able tray, the Army modified its policy. 163 
But troopships under Army control were 
forbidden to utilize trays until proper 
facilities for cleaning, sterilizing, and 
drying them had been installed. 164 

The sales commissary was another aid 
to morale since it gave the soldier an 
opportunity to purchase cigarettes, candy, 
soft drinks, and other items that contrib- 
uted to his comfort and pleasure. During 
peacetime a post exchange had been oper- 
ated on each Army transport and had 
carried a wide variety of commodities to 
be sold to military personnel and their 
families. Under wartime conditions so 
varied a stock was not necessary and the 
rapid increase in the number of transports 
made the administration of post exchanges 
burdensome. In the summer of 1942, 
therefore, the post exchange was replaced 
by the sales commissary, operated on a 
more limited basis. The officer in charge 
was a member of the permanent military 
complement and functioned under the 
general direction of the transport com- 
mander. In the beginning sales commis- 
saries were maintained only on Army 
transports and on WSA vessels allocated 
to the Army, but later they were estab- 
lished also on British vessels that were 
regularly engaged in the movement of 
U.S. troops. 163 The principal difficulty was 
that only limited space could be allotted 
to this activity, and the stocks frequently 

did not prove adequate. As a result, some 
transport commanders had to contend 
with the "black market" problem. 

Maintaining morale was the principal 
aim of the so-called transport services 
activities. When the soldier was occupied 
with sports, theatricals, movies, and other 
forms of entertainment he had less oppor- 
tunity to think about the discomforts of the 
voyage and the hazardous adventure that 
lay ahead of him. Books, magazines, pho- 
nograph records, and Army News Service 
broadcasts served the same purpose. While 
some soldiers carried their own musical 
instruments, the ports solicited donations 
of instruments, which they repaired and 
placed on the transports to encourage in- 
formal as well as organized musicales. The 
transport services activities also included 
informational and educational programs 
to prepare the soldier for experiences in 
the country for which he was destined and 
assistance with the personal problems of 
the individual and his family. Initially 
these activities were in charge of the ship's 
chaplain when there was one on board; if 
no transport chaplain was on board, the 
Transport commander took the responsi- 
bility himself or assigned it to the ship's 
transportation officer. Since all of these 
officers had other responsibilities that pre- 
vented them from giving sufficient time to 
educational and recreational activities, a 
specially selected transport services officer 

163 For a review of these developments, see OCT 
HB Monograph 12, pp. 56-59. 

"■'"TCGir 133, 19 Oct 43; TC Cir 80-16, 4 Apr 44, 
and Changes 13, 20 Jul 44; Memo, C of Water Div 
OCT for C of Ship Conversion Unit, 5 Jul 44, OCT 
HB Water Div Ship Repair and Conv. 

,ts WD Cir 281, 22 Aug 42; Memo, CofT for 
NYPE, 21 Dec 42, OCT 400.34 N. Y.; WD Memo W 
55-17-43, 5 May 43, sub: Opn of Sales Commissaries; 
1st Ind, CofT for TQMG, 28 Jan 44, sub: Canteen 
Supplies for British Army Transports, OCT HB Farr 




was added to the permanent military com- 
plement late in the war. The organization 
of each port of embarkation included an 
officer to supervise these activities and pro- 
vide the equipment that they required. 166 
The transport chaplain's principal duty 
was to look after the spiritual and moral 
welfare of the troops. Sometimes the chap- 
lain was qualified to assume the additional 
responsibility for recreation and entertain- 
ment that he had until late in the war, but 
often he lacked the temperament as well 
as the time needed to do it justice. This 
was true even though the chaplain was 
authorized to enlist the assistance of the 
special services officers of units being 

transported. The appointment of a trans- 
port services officer to take over this 
responsibility was therefore welcomed. 

Chaplains served regularly on the 
troopships operated by the Army and by 
WSA agents for the Army. When the 
Navy began operating some of the new 
troopships that had been built for the 
Army, it was thought for a time that the 
Navy chaplain on such vessels would 

166 TC Cir 167, corrected 17 Dec 43; TG Gir 35-1 1, 
11 Jul 44; WDCir 360, 5 Sep 44, par. 7;TC Cir 35-2, 
22 Feb 45; TC Cir 35-14, 28 Mar 45; TC Cir 35-11, 
28 May 45; TC Pamphlet 43, Transport Services Pro- 
grams, 27 Jim 45; NYPE Pamphlet 1, 1 May 45, sub: 
Transport Services Manual; all In OCT HB PE Gen 
Transport Complements and Services. 



suffice. Experience showed, however, that 
the Navy chaplain's time was devoted al- 
most entirely to the crew and consequently 
an Army transport chaplain was provided. 
The transport chaplains received guid- 
ance from the chaplains of the ports to 
which their vessels were attached. 167 

On the transports, as at the staging 
areas, it was desirable to conduct some 
form of training to keep the soldier physi- 
cally fit, but the possibilities for training 
were even more limited. Since space re- 
served for training reduced troop capacity, 
the Chief of Transportation directed his 
port commanders not to reserve such space 
on voyages to North Africa, Europe, 
Hawaii, and Alaska, which were only 
slightly in excess of one week. On longer 
voyages a space allowance was made. In 
any case the prescribed training required 
only a minimum of equipment. The aim 
was to devote from thirty minutes to an 
hour each day to training that consisted 
chiefly of physical exercise. What actu- 
ally was accomplished depended on the 
weather and other circumstances of the 
voyage, and to a considerable extent on 
the ingenuity of the transport com- 
mander. 168 Some technical training was 
also given on board, chiefly for radio 
technicians, but that, too, was affected by 
the limitation on equipment as well as by 
the rules relating to radio silence at sea. 169 

The transport surgeon was a member 
of the permanent military complement; 
he was directly responsible to the transport 
commander but was under the technical 
supervision of the port surgeon. In addi- 
tion to having charge of the ship's hospi- 
tal, he gave attention to all matters affect- 
ing the health of troops, including the 
maintenance of proper sanitation, cleanli- 
ness, and ventilation, and investigated the 

cause of any sickness that might develop 
during the voyage. It was readily recog- 
nized that overcrowding was a contribut- 
ing cause to many illnesses, but the Chief 
of Transportation was under such pressure 
to meet the requirements of the theater 
commanders for troops that overloading 
was inevitable. 170 He nevertheless desired 
that troop movement officers always con- 
sult the port surgeons when heavy over- 
loading was contemplated, and that 
their recommendations be followed when 
possible. 171 

Since troops received needed dental 
attention at home stations and at the stag- 
ing areas, no space on the transports was 
assigned to dental equipment and dental 
personnel. Emergency needs were taken 
care of by the dental personnel of units 
that were on board. There was a slight 
modification of this policy after V-E Day. 
Port commanders were then permitted to 
install dental equipment on transports 
provided it could be done without re- 
ducing the troop space and with the 
understanding that no permanent dental 
personnel would be assigned. 172 

161 AR 55-355, 22 Aug 42; Memo, CofT for PEs, 
13 Jun 44, sub: Asgmt of Army Chaplains, and 
atchd documents, OCT HB Meyer Staybacks. 

18S Memo, CofT for PEs, 27 Dec 43, sub: Troop 
Tng Aboard Transports, OCT HB Farr Staybacks; 
Memo, ACofS G-3 for CG ASF, 28 Jan 44, sub: Phys- 
ical Tng, OCT 353.5 Physical Tng; Digest of Rpt, 
Maj George Ream, OCT, to ACofS G-3, 16 Mar 44, 
OCT HB PE Gen Transport Complements. 

169 ASF Cir 108, 28 Oct 43. 

170 Medical service on troop transports will be 
treated more fully in the discussion of evacuat ion of 
patients from the theaters. See below l~Ch. III. I 

171 AR 55-350, 14 Sep 42; Memo, NYPE for CofT, 
2 Oct 43, sub; Outbreak of Diarrhea Aboard Trans- 
port, OCT 680-900 New York; Min of Conf of Port 
Surgeons and Troop Mvmt Offs, Ft Hamilton, N.Y., 
12-14 Oct 43, p. 40, OCT HB NYPE Port Surgeon. 

172 Memo, CofT for CG NYPE, 28 Jul 45, sub: 
Installation of Dental Equip Aboard Troopships, 
OCT 564 Troopships. 



Replacements and other casual troops 
when traveling in large numbers fre- 
quently created problems for the transport 
commanders because they were not as well 
organized and controlled as the members 
of units. The designation of convoy or 
escort officers by the commanders of the 
replacement depots from which such 
troops were shipped relieved the situation 
considerably after that procedure was in- 
augurated late in 1943, but the problems 
persisted. Some escort officers, being only 
temporarily in command of the troops, did 
not take their responsibilities seriously. On 
the other hand, some transport com- 
manders assigned these officers staff duties 
that prevented them from giving proper 
supervision to the troops in their charge. 
When the latter situation came to the 
attention of the Chief of Transportation, 
he requested the port commanders to in- 
struct all transport commanders regarding 
the duties of escort officers toward their 
troops and to warn them against unneces- 
sary interference with the performance of 
those duties. He nevertheless maintained 
that casual escort officers must be ready to 
assist the transport commanders, as was 
the case with unit commanders. 173 

The transportation of nonmilitary pas- 
sengers on troopships under Army control 
was carefully regulated. All applications 
passed through the Office of the Chief of 
Transportation, which obtained clearance 
from OPD before notifying the ports of 
embarkation that the passengers could be 
accepted. Nonmilitary passengers included 
diplomatic personnel and others traveling 
under the auspices of the State Depart- 
ment, representatives of other civilian 
agencies of the federal government, officers 
and employees of territorial governments, 
employees of contractors doing work for 
the armed forces in oversea areas, and rep- 

resentatives of such organizations as the 
American Red Cross and the Young Men's 
Christian Association. 174 This kind of 
travel was kept at a minimum not only 
because the space was needed for troops 
but also because the facilities and services 
on the transports were not up to the stand- 
ards that civilian passengers expected. 

The regulations provided that women, 
other than Army nurses and Red Cross 
workers, would not be carried on troop- 
ships except on specific authorization of 
the Chief of Transportation. He took the 
position that the few women who were 
sent abroad by civilian agencies should be 
transported by air, since they had to be 
assigned to separate compartments on 
troopships, and this usually involved a 
waste of space. The policy could not be 
carried out uniformly, however, for OPD 
sometimes found it necessary to assign 
troopship priorities for civilian women, 
and these priorities were binding on the 
Chief of Transportation. 1 7 5 

During the voyages transport com- 
manders issued debarkation schedules and 
appropriate instructions in order that they 
might be studied and plans might be 
made to accomplish debarkations smooth- 
ly and quickly. These instructions were 
drawn up in accordance with the estab- 
lished practices of the ports, and revisions 
sometimes were necessitated by special 
orders issued by the port commanders. 
When calling at unfamiliar ports, the 

17,1 Memo, CofT for PEs, 1 2 Jan 44, and atchd cor- 
respondence; Memo, GG HRPE for Comdr of General 
W. A. Mann,l}un 44; Memo, CG HRPE for CofT, 
18 Jun 44; all in OCT HB Farr Staybacks. 

1,4 AR 55-390, 16 Dec 42, Sees. II and IV. 

175 Ltr, SW to Secy State, prepared 15 Mar 43; 2d 
Ind, CofT for ACofS OPD, 26 Nov 43; both in OCT 
HB Farr Staybacks; TC Cir 80-13, 1 Jan 44, sub: 
Mvmt of Pers. 



transport commander based his instruc- 
tions on such information regarding port 
procedures as he could obtain in advance, 
and he sometimes prepared alternate in- 
structions in order to be ready for several 
contingencies. Upon completion of de- 
barkation the transport commander sent a 
message to the port from which he had 
sailed, announcing his arrival overseas, 
indicating any discrepancies that had been 
discovered between the passenger list and 
the troops actually on board, and giving 
the names of any passengers that had been 
injured or had become seriously ill during 
the voyage. 176 

The key to successful troopship admin- 
istration was the competence of the trans- 
port commander. New appointees found 
themselves confronted with a maze of 
unfamiliar problems. After an officer had 
served as transport commander for a 
number of voyages he could count on ex- 
perience to guide him in many matters, 
but no two voyages were alike. At all times 
the responsibility was a heavy one. It re- 
quired administrative skill in controlling 
the activities and conduct of a large num- 
ber of troops under difficult circumstances, 
ingenuity in making the best possible use 
of limited means, and diplomacy in deal- 
ing with ship's officers and unit com- 
manders. The latter were usually conser- 
vative in their criticisms, but in some cases 
their reports indicated that they had found 
little to their satisfaction on the ships. 177 

A frequent handicap to transport com- 
manders was their low rank. Under the 
table of organization for military comple- 
ments established by the Chief of Trans- 
portation, the transport commander on a 
ship carrying 4,000 or more passengers 
might be a colonel. On a ship carrying be- 
tween 500 and 4,000 passengers he might 

be a major, and on smaller ships a cap- 
tain. 178 Often, however, officers of such 
ranks were not available and officers of 
lower rank had to be assigned. Regardless 
of rank, some men had the necessary 
qualifications and others did not. Careful 
selection, constant instruction and super- 
vision, and prompt relief of those who did 
not measure up to the requirements en- 
abled the port commanders to build up a 
generally competent group of transport 

The Liberty Ship as a Troop Carrier 

Special and unusually difficult prob- 
lems were encountered in connection with 
the use of about 225 Liberty ships that 
had been temporarily converted to carry 
troops. The Liberties, although slow and 
designed solely as freighters, were used for 
troop transportation because without 
them the execution of strategic plans 
would have been delayed. 179 The original 
conversions were hastily made by the War 
Shipping Administration in order that the 
vessels might join convoys to North Africa 
without loss of time. The Chief of Trans- 
portation recognized that the Liberty 
ships were far from ideal as troop carriers, 
but he probably did not realize when they 
first went into troop service in September 
1943 how serious would be the complaints 
from those who traveled on them. The 

1Tli AR 55-445, 19 Sep 42; NYPE, General Instruc- 
tions for Transport Comdrs, 1 May 43, Sec. IV, OCT 
HB NYPE Transport Comdrs; TC Pamphlet 44, Mar 
46, pp. 14, 15. 

1,7 For example, Rpt on Shipment 2086, to TAG, 
19 Oct 44, OCT 333.7 General A. E. Anderson. 

" 8 TC Cir 25 -8, revised 13 May 44. 

179 See above, |pp, 90-91 1 Memo, Gross for Styer, 19 
Nov 43, OCT HB Wylie Liberty Ship Conversions; 
Memo, CofT for ACofS OPD, 31 Dec 43, sub: Emer- 
gency Use of POW Converted Liberty Ships, OPD 
560 (24 Jan 44). 



galley and mess facilities were very un- 
satisfactory. The sanitary installations 
were inadequate. The food storage and 
fresh water capacities were small. Insuffi- 
cient space was allotted to the medical de- 
partment and the sales commissary. Ven- 
tilation and heating were poor. The deck 
spaces available for recreation were 
exceedingly limited. 180 

Other conditions contributed to the dif- 
ficulties encountered on the Liberties dur- 
ing the early period of their employment 
as troop carriers. The responsibilities 
assumed by transport commanders on 
larger ships were assigned to cargo secu- 
rity officers, who in most instances were 
lieutenants without experience to qualify 
them for the task. The unsatisfactory 
quarters, poor and sometimes insufficient 
food, and lack of space for exercise often 
created a recalcitrant spirit among the 
troops resulting in poor discipline, pilfer- 
age of galley and commissary stores, and 
indisposition to maintain order and clean- 
liness. Some of the ships' masters resented 
the conversion of their vessels and the 
added responsibilities the transportation 
of passengers entailed. The troops em- 
barked on these vessels usually were small 
units or casuals and most of their officers 
were young and inexperienced. The Chief 
of Transportation observed that because 
of the unusual conditions the more sea- 
soned transport commanders were needed 
for the Liberty ships, but they obviously 
could not be taken from the regular 

Reports from early voyages of converted 
Liberties in slow convoys to the Mediter- 
ranean made it clear that immediate steps 
would have to be taken to improve their 
facilities and operation. Measures for bet- 
tering the facilities were agreed upon be- 
tween the Chief of Transportation and the 

War Shipping Administration, and the 
Maritime Commission was requested to 
accomplish the work as promptly as pos- 
sible. 181 In November 1943 an under- 
standing was reached between the Chief 
of Transportation and the WSA regarding 
the division of responsibility for the com- 
fort and safety of the troops. The WSA, 
whose agents operated the vessels, agreed 
to provide adequate steward personnel 
and food, and to instruct the masters re- 
garding their duties in connection with 
the care of passengers and co-operation 
with the transport commanders. The 
Chief of Transportation agreed to establish 
limits for the number of troops to be em- 
barked, to arrange for the inspection of 
the vessels before each voyage, to assign 
transport commanders with adequate 
military staffs, and to provide sufficient 
medical and commissary supplies. 182 

These measures brought considerable 
improvement, but the temporarily con- 
verted Liberties still lacked many desir- 
able features, and their slowness was an 
added disadvantage. The first plan was to 
carry only 350 troops, but the demand for 
space was so great that the limit was raised 
to 500. 183 By May 1944 the addition of 

180 See numerous documents in OCT HB Water 
Div Converted Liberty Ships, and OCT HB Wylie 
Liberty Ship Conversions; see also record of discussion 
in Min of Port Comdrs Conf, New Orleans, 1 1-14 Jan 
44, pp. 95-102. 

181 Ltr, C of Water Div OCT for Dir Opns and 
Traf, U.S. Mar Com, 18 Oct 43, OCT 564 EC-2 

182 Agreement Between the War Shipping Admin- 
istration and the Chief of Transportation Regarding 
EC-2 Hastily Converted Prisoner of War Ships for the 
Transportation of U.S. Troops Outbound, 20 Nov 43, 
OCT HB Wylie WSA; Memo, CG ASF for DCofS 
WDGS, 10 Feb 44, sub: Final Rpt— Converted Lib- 
erty Ships, OCT HB Farr Staybacks. 

183 Msg, Mvmts Div to NYPE and BPE, 4 Feb 44, 
OCT HB Mvmts Div Farr Staybacks; Memo, WSA 
New York for Col Raymond M. Hicks, 2 Mar 44^ 
OCT 565.2 WSA. 



more desirable types of vessels to the 
troopship fleet made it possible to discon- 
tinue use of the temporarily converted 
Liberties. Thereafter, only those that had 
been provided with permanent facilities 
for troops were used. 1 * 4 

The fact that the Combined Chiefs of 
Staff had approved the use of temporarily 
converted Liberty ships as emergency 
troop carriers did not relieve the Army of 
criticism. Because of the unsatisfactory 
conditions on board, the Navy Depart- 
ment requested the Chief of Transporta- 
tion not to place naval personnel on these 
vessels. However, General Gross took the 
position that, since the decision to use 
them had been taken deliberately by the 
CCS as a matter of military necessity and 
with a realization of the problems in- 
volved, they should be used without dis- 
crimination in favor of any branch of the 
military service. On the other hand, he 
ordered that if possible the ports avoid 
embarking civilian passengers on Liberty 
ships. 185 

When a number of Liberties developed 
structural cracks, the U.S. Coast Guard 
recommended that vessels of this type be 
withdrawn from troop service to the ex- 
tent that troop commitments would per- 
mit. The commitments at that time were 
so heavy that no troop lift could be spared. 
The Chief of Transportation agreed that 
strengthening alterations should be made 
when the ships were laid up for other re- 
pairs, but he was unwilling for them to be 
taken from service solely for that purpose 
unless the cracks constituted a safety 
hazard. 186 

In a report issued in June 1944 the 
Senate Special Committee Investigating 
the National Defense Program comment- 
ed on the unsuitability of Liberty ships for 
troop traffic and expressed the view that 

greater foresight on the part of the mili- 
tary authorities would have obviated their 
use. General Gross* nevertheless, main- 
tained that they had served a useful pur- 
pose and recommended that they be kept 
available as potential troop carriers 
against the possibility that they might be 
needed in connection with a further ex- 
pansion of the military effort or for the 
repatriation of troops after hostilities were 
over. 1ST That plan was followed and in 
the summer of 1945, in anticipation of the 
heavy redeployment and repatriation 
traffic, about 200 converted Liberties were 
prepared to carry 550 troops each with 
some improvements over their former pas- 
senger facilities. 

Justification for the use of the Liberty 
ship as a troop carrier rested solely on the 
urgency of the need for additional troop 
lift. In September 1943, when the decision 
was made to employ this type of vessel for 
moving troops overseas, the Allies were 
still struggling with the problem of con- 
structing enough ships to offset sinkings 
by the enemy while adequately support- 
ing the armies on the far-flung battle 
fronts. The Liberty ship was being built in 
a fraction of the time required to complete 

184 Msg, Mvmts Div to Port Comdrs, 21 Apr 44; 
Memo, CofT for Port Comdrs, 29 Apr 44; both in 
OCT HB Water Div Converted Liberty Ships. 

185 Memo, VCNO for CofT, 7 Dec 43, sub: Trans 
of Naval Pers in Liberty Type Vessels; 1st Ind by 
Gross, 14 Dec 43; both in OCT 569.3 Liberty Ships; 
1st Ind, CofT for HRPE, 22 Apr 44, OCT HB Farr 

11,6 Memo, USCG for Lt Col Otey Y. Warren, 
OCT, 5 Feb 44; Memo, CofT for ACofS OPD, 1 1 
Feb 44; Memo, Farr for Gross, 17 Feb 44; all in OCT 
HB Farr Staybacks (Nos. 85 and 100). 

187 Senate Special Committee Investigating the 
National Defense Program, additional report, Mer- 
chant Shipping, Rpt 10, Pt. IB, June 23, 1944; Memo, 
Gross for Somervell, 30 Jun 44, sub: Comments on 
Truman Committee Rpt, OCT HB Gross Troopships. 



other types of vessels, and the installation 
of temporary troop accommodations could 
be accomplished between voyages without 
loss of ship time. Appraisal of the use of 
these vessels, therefore, must take into ac- 
count the fact that they represented the 
quickest way of achieving the additional 
troop lift desired by the military author- 
ities. The withdrawal of Liberty ships 
from troop service as more suitable ships 
became available indicates that the Army 
regarded their use as an emergency or 
stopgap measure. Their further employ- 
ment during redeployment was essential 
to the plan for bringing the war in the 
Pacific to an early conclusion, and during 
the repatriation period their use was a 
concession to the popular demand that 
the troops be returned home as quickly as 

Movement of Organizational Equipment 

While troop units moving overseas took 
their personal equipment with them into 
the staging areas and onto the ships, their 
organizational equipment and initial sup- 
plies moved separately to and through the 
ports. The term "organizational equip- 
ment" covered the vehicles, tanks, artil- 
lery, technical paraphernalia, housekeep- 
ing tools, and other items that the unit 
would require in order to be an effective 
fighting force when it arrived on a foreign 
shore. Some of this equipment was loaded 
in the same vessels with the units to which 
it appertained, but most of it moved in 
other vessels. Some was force marked — 
that is, marked with the shipment num- 
bers of the troop units to which it be- 
longed — and some was shipped in bulk 
and assigned to units after reaching the 
theaters. The basic requirement was that 
the troops should have their equipment 

immediately or soon after their debarka- 
tion. Fulfilling this requirement involved 
many problems for the Chief of Transpor- 
tation. Numerous devices were tried in the 
effort to meet these problems, and consid- 
erable improvement was achieved during 
the war, but because of the many consid- 
erations involved and changing conditions 
in the theaters a complete solution was 
never reached. 188 

The amount of organizational equip- 
ment to be shipped varied according to 
the types of units and the areas for which 
they were destined. The equipment of an 
armored force naturally had greater cubic 
measurement per man than that of an in- 
fantry force or a service unit. 189 The quan- 
tity of equipment required in an area 
where a great amount of construction or 
reconstruction was necessary, or in an 
area where no paraphernalia or supplies 
could be procured locally, was greater 
than elsewhere. The contrast between 
World War I and World War II was strik- 
ing in this respect. In World War I ap- 
proximately 50 percent of the materiel 
required by the American Expeditionary 
Forces was obtained in Europe. In World 
War II the Army not only shipped the 
preponderance of its requirements from 
the zone of interior, but also the bulk of 
those requirements was much greater be- 
cause of the increased number and size of 
weapons, vehicles, bulldozers, and other 

In the spring of 1943 the Chief of Trans- 

188 The persistence of the problems is indicated in 
Memo, Gross for Maj Gen Walter A. Wood, Jr., 12 
Jan 45, OCT HB Wylie Staybacks; Ltr, CG NYPE to 
Wylie, 15 Jan 45; Memo, Berzelius for Wylie, 20 Jan 
45; last two in OCT HB Wylie Cargo; Memo, Wylie 
for Franklin, 21 Jan 45, sub: Loading Troop Equip, 
OCT HB Wylie Staybacks. 

18S For a comparison, see Miscellaneous Shipping 
Information, data on p. 58, 2 Mar 43, OCT HB Ping 
Div Gen. 



portation calculated that the initial move- 
ment of equipment and supplies per man 
averaged six measurement tons for the 
Central and Southwest Pacific and the 
Middle East, seven measurement tons for 
North Africa and the United Kingdom, 
and eight measurement tons for the South 
Pacific and Central Africa. In January 
1945, by which date oversea operations 
had assumed a more stable pattern and 
better methods of calculating require- 
ments and of packing and stowing mate- 
riel had been developed, the average for 
initial shipments to all theaters was five 
measurement tons per man. 190 

The movement of troops and their 
equipment in separate vessels was at the 
root of many of the problems. During the 
early part of the war there were persistent 
requests from oversea commands, particu- 
larly those in the Pacific, that troops be 
unit loaded — that is, loaded in the same 
ships with their equipment. Such a pro- 
cedure was unquestionably advantageous 
to the theaters, since it insured arrival of 
both troops and equipment at the same 
port at the same time. From the standpoint 
of the zone of interior, however, unit load- 
ing frequently was not practicable. Usually 
it involved unbalanced cargoes and a 
waste of ship space. Moreover, the vessels 
that carried large numbers of troops had 
relatively small cargo capacities. The ex- 
treme examples were the Queen Mary and 
the Queen Elizabeth, which could carry up 
to 15,000 troops but could provide space 
for only 500 dead-weight tons of ma- 
teriel. 191 Moving troops and their equip- 
ment in different ships therefore was not a 
matter of choice but of practical wisdom. 
Convoy loading — that is, forwarding the 
troops and their equipment in different 
vessels but in the same convoy — had only 

limited application. The convoy system 
was little used for sailings from the Pacific 
coast, and even in the Atlantic fast troop- 
ships ran independently and those of 
medium speed sailed in fast convoys, while 
most cargo vessels moved in slow con- 
voys. 192 The slow cargo convoys, more- 
over, were often broken up overseas and 
the vessels assigned to different ports for 

A complaint heard often during the 
early part of the war was that organiza- 
tional equipment was scattered over too 
many vessels and hence was difficult to 
locate and consolidate after arrival in the 
theater. 193 There were several circum- 
stances that contributed to this kind of 
loading. Equipment reached the ports on 
different and sometimes widely scattered 
dates, and the simplest procedure was to 
ship it out as it arrived. At a time when 
shipping space was extremely scarce, the 
ports desired to get the best possible stow- 
age for each cargo vessel, and this often in- 
volved mixing organizational equipment 
and maintenance supplies. The ports also 
had to consider, especially through the 
period of heavy submarine activity in the 
Atlantic, the consequences of placing all 

190 Memo, GofT for CG ASF, 9 Apr 43, OCT HB 
Wylie Shipping Requirements and Allocations 1943; 
Ltr, SW to Sen Harley M. Kilgore, 10 Jun 43, OCT 
500 Mobilization of Shipping Resources; Miscellane- 
ous Shipping Information, 21 Jan 45, data on p. 54, 
OCT HB Ping Div Gen. 

191 Memo, GofT for BAS, 25 Feb 43; Memo, Col 
Llewellyn Wansbrough-Joncs, BAS, for Farr, OCT, 
6 Mar 43; both in OCT HB Farr Staybacks. 

192 4th Ind, CofT for ACofS for Opns ASF, 4 Apr 
43, OCT HB Meyer Staybacks. 

193 As an extreme case, in September 1942 Maj. 
Gen. Mark W. Clark reported that the organizational 
equipment of a regiment had arrived in the United 
Kingdom on 55 different vessels; Memo, CG SOS for 
CofT, 26 Sep 42; Memo, CofT for PEs, 4 Oct 42; both 
in OCT HB PE Gen Troop Equip; Memo, CofT for 
HRPE, 9 Oct 42, sub: Troop Equip, OCT 475 Over- 
seas Equip Left in U.S. 



or most of a unit's equipment in a single 
vessel if that vessel should be sunk. 

Many other factors entered into the 
rather complex situation. Movement 
orders were not always issued sufficiently 
far in advance of the actual movement, 
with the result that shipments of impedi- 
menta were late in reaching the loading 
ports. 194 Particularly during the early part 
of the war when many items were in short 
supply, units held the equipment they had 
at home stations as long as possible in 
order to complete their training. Some- 
times the ports were not notified regard- 
ing the equipment that would be dis- 
patched from technical service depots, or 
when it would arrive. At the outset many 
shipments of impedimenta to the ports 
were inadequately marked, so that identi- 
fication of particular items with particular 
units was slow and sometimes impossible. 
The processing of unboxed equipment at 
home stations was inadequate or entirely 
lacking, with the result that shipments 
were damaged en route, particularly when 
they were transported overseas as deck 
cargoes. Packaging frequently did not 
meet the test of transshipment at loading 
and discharge ports. Advices from ports of 
embarkation to the theater commanders 
sometimes failed to give sufficient infor- 
mation regarding the equipment on a 
particular vessel and the manner of its 
stowage to enable the port of destination 
to plan ahead for its discharge and 
disposition. 195 

The efforts to cope with these problems 
fall into two distinct categories. In the first 
were measures taken toward better prep- 
aration in the zone of interior for handling 
movements of impedimenta, including 
clearer instructions to all concerned. In 
the second category were adjustments 
made in procedures to meet conditions 

peculiar to the several theaters and the 
changing strategic situation. 

A vital factor in the zone of interior was 
the control that port commanders exer- 
cised over the movement of troop impedi- 
menta from home stations and depots to 
the seaboard. Troops and their equipment 
were alike in that respect — the port com- 
manders were in the best position to know 
when their facilities would be able to re- 
ceive additional shipments, how long it 
would take to prepare the shipments for 
embarkation, and when the vessels would 
be ready to receive them. Port command- 
ers, and they alone, were in a position to 
state when shipments should be made and 
to which facilities at the ports they should 
be delivered. Authority to control these 
movements had been vested in the port 
commanders in Janury 1942, as a result of 
the confusion that followed the uncon- 
trolled shipment of impedimenta to San 
Francisco during the early weeks of U.S. 
participation in the war. 196 

Complete understanding between port 
commanders, unit commanders, and tech- 
nical service chiefs regarding shipments of 
equipment to the seaboard was sometimes 
difficult to achieve. Unit commanders did 
not always know in advance exactly how 
much of their old equipment would be 
taken overseas. The technical services 
often were not given sufficient time to 
make shipments from their depots, and 

194 Memo, CofT for ACofS OPD, 23 Jan 43, sub: 
Issuance of Mvmt Orders; Memo, CG SOS for CofT, 
26 Jan 43; both in OCT 370.5 Mvmt Orders (1). 

195 Memo, TAG for Cs of Supply Arms and Svs, 17 
Jan 42, sub: Shipts to PEs; Memo, TAG for CG Field 
Forces, et al., 19 Jan 42, sub: Equip of Troops; Ltr, 
CofS for CG WDC, 13 Mar 42; all in G-4/33889; 
Memo, CofT for PEs, 12 Apr 42, Org and Trans of 
Task Forces, OCT 370.5 (Jan-May 42). 

19S Memo, TAG for CofAAF, etal., 2 Jan 42, AG 
370.5 (1-1-42). 



sometimes the requisitioned items were 
not immediately available. In addition to 
impressing upon unit commanders and 
technical service chiefs the necessity of 
providing the ports with prompt and full 
information regarding all shipments, SOS 
headquarters directed the Chief of Trans- 
portation to have his port commanders 
maintain close liaison with the sources 
from which equipment would move. 197 In 
some cases representatives of the ports 
were sent to home stations to assist unit 
personnel in organizing and loading their 

Early in 1943, when it was learned that 
some units had sailed for North Africa 
with elaborate office furniture, housekeep- 
ing supplies, and other nonessential items, 
the Chief of Transportation recommended 
that in view of the shortage of ships the 
major commands examine the tables of 
basic allowances and designate the items 
that should be left behind when units 
moved overseas. Some months later the 
War Department took steps to regulate 
the amount of station equipment that 
might be shipped overseas on requisitions 
from theater commanders. 198 

Automotive vehicles constituted a major 
element of the organizational equipment 
of most troop units. They also were a 
troublesome element. By the time a unit 
had completed training many of its ve- 
hicles were unfit for service in a theater of 
operations and had to be repaired or re- 
placed either at the home station or at the 
port of embarkation. Also, when vehicles 
accompanied troops they required exten- 
sive processing to prevent deterioration 
during the voyage. After some months of 
experience explicit instructions were 
issued to deal with this situation. 199 Units 
ordered overseas were required, unless 
otherwise directed in movement orders, to 

turn in at their home stations all general 
purpose and special purpose vehicles that 
did not meet certain specifications as to 
age and condition, and to notify the ap- 
propriate technical services by the fastest 
means of communication regarding the 
shortages to be made up. Units might re- 
ceive vehicles to fill these shortages at their 
home stations, at the ports of embarka- 
tion, or after arrival overseas. The chiefs 
of the technical services were directed to 
establish pools of vehicles in the zone of 
interior and in the principal theaters for 
this purpose. As it worked out, general 
purpose vehicles were usually supplied to 
the units after their arrival in the theaters. 
This arrangement made possible the ship- 
ment of a considerable percentage of such 
vehicles partially knocked down and 
boxed, in which condition they required 
only about one third as much space as 
when they were fully assembled. 200 Also, 
when vehicles were shipped boxed the 
ports were relieved of the task of process- 
ing them. 

The processing of vehicles at the ports 
to prevent deterioration during the voyage 
became a large undertaking. Although 
their authority was uncertain in the begin- 
ning, all ports found themselves doing 
a certain amount of processing because 
it had not been done at home stations or 
depots. The San Francisco Port of Embar- 
kation, which had bitter experience in 
shipping unprocessed vehicles and tanks 

197 Memo, CG SOS for Cs of Tech Svs, 3 Oct 42, 
sub: Supply of Troops at PEs, OCT HB Gross Ports. 

198 Memo, CofT for ACofS OPD, 3 Feb 43, sub: 
Imped for Overseas Troops, OCT HB Meyer Stay- 
backs; WD Memo W 210-24-43, 7 Sep 43, sub: Ship- 
ment of Post, Camp, and Station Equip. 

199 WD Memo W 850-19-42, 27 Nov 42, sub: 
Supply and Distribution of Automotive Equip. 

2,1,1 Memo, CofT for CG ASF, 5 Dec 43, sub: Ship- 
ment of Boxed Vehicles, OCT HB Wylie Shipping 
and Cargo for UK 1943-44. 



to Pacific bases during the early months of 
the war, took the lead in setting up a well- 
equipped processing plant at Emeryville, 
on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay 
not far from the Oakland Army base. As 
soon as the authority of the ports had been 
definitely established, the Chief of Trans- 
portation requested the other port com- 
manders to establish similar facilities. 201 
The initial purpose of processing was to 
seal or insulate the machinery against rust 
and corrosion and to board up the ex- 
posed glass surfaces against breakage. 
When it was found that tools and spare 
parts that should have accompanied the 
equipment did not arrive overseas, either 
because they were not shipped or because 
they were removed en route, the ports 
were instructed to establish the presence 
of these items before processing and to box 
them in so securely that pilferage would 
be difficult. 

Most of the equipment was procured by 
the Ordnance Department, and the port 
ordnance officers were in charge of the 
processing plants. In the beginning these 
officers were left largely to their own de- 
vices, and the Chief of Transportation 
came to the conclusion that there was 
overprocessing at some ports. In July 1943 
he pointed out to the Chief of Ordnance 
that, although the complaints from over- 
seas regarding vehicles arriving in bad 
condition had almost ceased, there was 
still room for refinement in the methods 
because of the differing conditions affect- 
ing equipment in the various theaters and 
the differing requirements for shipments 
stowed in the hold and on deck. The Chief 
of Ordnance was therefore requested to 
develop standards for processing that 
would take these differences into ac- 
count. 202 

Because of the heavy shipments to Eu- 

rope, the port of embarkation at New 
York passed the largest number of vehicles 
through its processing plant, which was 
located at Port Johnston on the New Jer- 
sey side of New York Harbor. The peak 
was reached in May 1944, when 9,550 ve- 
hicles were serviced. From incomplete 
records it appears that the same month 
marked the peak at Emeryville, with 
3,391 vehicles serviced. 203 The plants op- 
erated on an assembly-line basis and, in 
addition to processing vehicles for ship- 
ment, they made repairs within the capa- 
bility of their facilities. The object was to 
have the vehicles ready for service with a 
minimum of attention after arrival in the 

Ports of embarkation kept meticulous 
records of troop equipment, for they had 
to know at all times what equipment was 
being shipped for particular units, where 
it was located, and when it would be 
loaded into ships. 204 Maintaining records 
for these purposes was complicated by the 
number of units moving simultaneously, 
the great variety of impedimenta to be 
handled, amendments to movement or- 
ders affecting dates of shipment, lack of 

«" Memo, CofT for PEs, 7 Oct 42, sub: Shipment 
of Motor Vehicles, Memo, CofT for PEs, 2 1 Dec 42, 
sub: Ordnance Maintenance at Ports; both in OCT 
HB PE Gen Troop Equip; WD Memo W 850-19-42, 
27 Nov 42, par. 12; WD Cir 14, 8 Jan 43, Sec. II; WD 
Cir 150, 2 Jul 43, Sec. Ill; WD Cir 175, 30 Jul 43, Sec. 
V; ASF Cir 76, 15 Mar 44, Sec. V. 

202 Memo, CofT for CofOrd, 22 Jul 43, sub: Stand- 
ards of Performance; Memo, Meyer for CG NYPE, 
31 Jul 43, sub: Preparation of Unboxed Vehicles; both 
in OCT HB Meyer Staybacks. 

203 NYPE monthly report, Progress and Activities, 
Jun 44, p. 64; (report also gives data for engineer vehi- 
cles processed by the port engineer) ; SFPE Quarterly 
Progress Rpt, Oct-Dec 44, p. 53; these and similar 
reports for other periods are in OCT HB files for 
respective ports. 

3St Memo, CofT for Contl Div ASF, 7 Jun 43, sub: 
Records of Org Equip, OCT HB PE Gen Troop 

PROCESSING TROOP EQUIPMENT before shipment overseas. Vehicles awaiting 
attention at the motor inspection base, Emeryville, California (above ); processing ramps at Port 
Johnston, Bayonne, New Jersey (below). 



information regarding the items actually 
forwarded from home stations and depots, 
and the inability of some unit command- 
ers to state exactly what impedimenta 
would accompany them overseas because 
of changing tables of equipment. 20S Grad- 
ually the Chief of Transportation devel- 
oped a plan of complete and uniform 
records for all ports that would show at all 
times what was to be shipped and what 
had been shipped. 2t>s If part of the initial 
equipment had not been dispatched when 
the troops sailed, as was often the case, the 
ports of embarkation were required to ad- 
vise the theaters when the remainder 
would be dispatched so that the theater 
commanders would not submit requisi- 
tions for those items. The port command- 
ers were also responsible for advising ASF 
headquarters when further shipments of 
equipment from the zone of interior 
should be stopped and theater command- 
ers requested to supply the outstanding 
items. 207 

The Chief of Transportation investi- 
gated the possibility of relieving the main 
ports through which the larger troop 
movements passed of the necessity of han- 
dling all of the organizational equipment 
for those movements. In shipping mainte- 
nance supplies, specific ports were 
responsible for controlling all movements 
to specific theaters, but they allocated the 
actual loading of part of the supplies to 
other ports, known as outports. The move- 
ment of troop equipment, however, in- 
volved a different set of circumstances. 
The flow of the impedimenta for a partic- 
ular unit had so many sources, extended 
over so long a period, and was subject to 
so many uncertainties that splitting the 
movement among several ports and yet 
maintaining complete and up-to-date rec- 
ords presented formidable obstacles. Split 

shipments of equipment therefore were 
avoided whenever possible. 208 

Both in the Office of the Chief of Trans- 
portation and at the ports of embarkation 
special personnel was required to super- 
vise the handling of troop equipment. The 
Movements Division, OCT, set up a sep- 
arate unit for this purpose in December 
1943 and placed in charge an officer who 
had had extensive experience with ship- 
ments of impedimenta at San Francisco. 
This unit, which eventually became 
known as the Troop Equipment Branch, 
dealt with all aspects of the subject from 
the time the movement orders were writ- 
ten until the equipment and troops were 
brought together overseas. 209 At the New 
York Port of Embarkation, where the 
traffic was heaviest, movements of impedi- 
menta were supervised by the Initial 
Troop Equipment Division, which was co- 
ordinate with the Troop Movement Divi- 
sion and other operating divisions. At San 
Francisco and other ports, movements of 
troops and troop equipment came under 
the jurisdiction of the same division, but 

203 Memo, Wylie for Ross, CofT ETOUSA, 26 May 
43, OCT HB Wylie Staybacks; Memo, CofT for Dir 
of Opns ASF, 1 1 Jun 43, OCT HB Meyer Staybacks. 

sob TC Cir t5j 2 Feb 43, sub: Shipt of Task Force 
Units; TC Cir 56, 27 Apr 43; OCT Cir 95, 26 Jul 43, 
sub: Records of Shipts; TC Cir 100-2, 4 Apr 44; TC 
Cir 100-3, 4 Apr 44. 

207 SOS Memo S 700-1-43, 2 Jan 43, sub: Cancella- 
tion of Back Orders; Memo, CofT for PEs, 6 Sep 44, 
sub: Clearance of Shipts from PEs, OCT 400.7. 

208 Memo, CofT for Col William E. Carraway, Ping 
Div ASF, 4 Apr 43, OCT HB Farr Staybacks; Memo, 
CofT for CGs NYPE and HRPE, 17 Jul 43, sub: For- 
warding of Equip; Memo, CG NYPE for Port Trans 
Div, 26 Jul 43; Last two in OCT 045.0 UGF 10; Re- 
marks by Col Berzelius at Mtg of Port Comdrs and 
Opng Representatives, 8 Jul 44, in Min of Port and 
Zone Comdrs Conf, Chicago, 6-9 Jul 44, p. 17, OCT 
HB PE Gen Port Comdrs Conf. 

' 20il Remarks by Col Berzelius, C of Troop Equip Br, 
at Junior Officers Meeting, Mvmts Div, 16 Oct 44, 
OCT HB Mvmt Div Gen. 



separate groups of personnel were assigned 
to perform the separate functions.' 210 

Clear instructions to explain procedures 
and establish the responsibility of all con- 
cerned were necessary to the efficient 
movement of troop impedimenta just as 
they were to the movement of the troops 
themselves. The basic instructions were 
included in the War Department publica- 
tion, Preparation for Overseas Movement. 
Further instructions were included in the 
supplementary pamphlet, Identification 
of Organizational Impedimenta, which 
was issued in August 1943. 211 The detailed 
directions given in the latter pamphlet 
emphasize the importance that was at- 
tached to the correct marking of such 
shipments and to maintaining full and ac- 
curate records in accomplishing the 
orderly flow of organizational equipment. 

The second aspect of the problem of 
moving troop equipment to the theaters 
was to adapt the procedures to differing 
conditions in the several oversea areas. 
During the spring and early summer of 
1942, when a feverish effort was being 
made to build up American strength in 
the United Kingdom against the possi- 
bility of an invasion of the Continent in 
the fall, the movement of troop impedi- 
menta was a major consideration. Many 
items of equipment were in short supply, 
and organizational equipment had to be 
held until troops were about to leave their 
home stations in order for them to com- 
plete their training. Unit loading was im- 
possible because a large percentage of the 
troops were dispatched in vessels that 
had limited cargo capacity. The ships of 
the convoys in which most of the equip- 
ment moved were distributed among the 
British ports according to conditions at 
the time of their arrival, so that it was im- 

possible to plan in advance where particu- 
lar vessels would be discharged. At this 
period some items were not available for 
shipment until long after the troops had 
departed. Consequently, a considerable 
amount of equipment was sent to depots 
in the United Kingdom, where related 
items were brought together before they 
were assigned to troop units. Under these 
circumstances from one to three months 
often elapsed between the arrival of the 
troops and their receipt of complete equip- 

With a view to correcting the situation 
and at the same time utilizing some cargo 
shipping that the British were expected to 
provide, G-4 proposed that at least half of 
the equipment of eight divisions scheduled 
to sail during the summer be shipped in 
bulk about a month in advance of the 
troops. There were some objections to the 
plan. The AGF was uncertain of the effect 
of such an arrangement on the training 
and morale of the divisions; the troop 
basis was not considered firm; the theater 
was fearful that placing so much equip- 
ment in its depots without unit marking 
and issuing it to the troops from stock 
might involve too much delay. OPD there- 
fore did not concur in the proposal, and 
strategic developments made it necessary 
to use the British vessels elsewhere, so that 
the plan — later known as preshipment — 

2111 Remarks by Col Henry J. Amy, C of Initial 
Troop Equip Div NYPE, at Mtg of Port Opn, Troop 
Mvmt and Equip Representatives, 8 Jul 44, in Min 
of Port and Zone Comdrs Conf, Chicago, 6-9 Jul 44, 
pp. 39-45, OCT HB PE Gen Port Comdrs Conf; Pre- 
liminary Rpt, Control and Handling of Force-Marked 
Equip at NYPE, 16-26 May 44; Rpt of Survey, Con- 
trol and Handling of Force- Marked Equip at SFPE, 
4-15 Jun 44; last two in OCT HB PE Gen Troop 

211 Copies of POM and IOI are in OCT HB PE 
Gen Troop Mvmt to Port. 



did not go into effect in 1942. 212 

In the winter of 1942-43, when the 
North African campaign held priority 
over the build-up in the United Kingdom, 
much the same condition prevailed with 
respect to troop equipment. Many ship- 
ments were late in reaching the ports of 
embarkation and consequently were late 
in being transshipped overseas. The troops 
and their impedimenta usually were 
shipped in different vessels, and the prob- 
lem of getting the two together in the 
theater persisted. Officers in North Africa 
felt that they were not being adequately 
informed regarding the status of ship- 
ments of equipment. When General 
Somervell visited the theater after the 
Casablanca Conference, he heard strong 
complaints on these matters and requested 
an explanation from the Chief of Trans- 
portation. In response, the Chief of Trans- 
portation stated that every effort was 
being made to get equipment to the ports 
and ship it as promptly as possible, and to 
notify the theater commanders when de- 
layed items would be forwarded; he did 
not consider it advisable, however, to give 
such notification until the ship on which 
the equipment would move had been 
definitely nominated. 213 No solution to the 
problem was found during the North 
African campaign. 

Preshipment, or the shipment of or- 
ganizational equipment and supplies in 
bulk ahead of troops, became an ap- 
proved policy in the spring of 1943, when 
the build-up of forces in the United King- 
dom was resumed in volume. Conditions 
that had prevented its execution in 1942 — 
the scarcity of many items, the acute 
shortage of cargo shipping, and the un- 
certainty of the troop basis — had by this 
time been alleviated. The Chief of Trans- 
portation saw in preshipment the best 

chance of solving this difficult problem. 
There were still some who feared undesir- 
able consequences from withdrawing 
equipment from troops four to six weeks 
ahead of their departure from training 
stations. But the decision was turned in 
favor of preshipment by the fact that in 
April 1943 an adequate supply of cargo 
space was assured and British ports were 
then capable of handling increased ship- 
ments. It was realized, moreover, that the 
accumulation of large stocks in the United 
Kingdom during 1943 would relieve the 
strain on shipping and on the ports that 
would inevitably develop as the date for 
the invasion of the Continent — then set 
for the spring of 1944 — approached. In 
May 1943, therefore, preshipment on as 
broad a scale as possible was decreed. 214 

212 Memo within OCT, Lt Col Norman H. Visser- 
ing For Col Noble M. Coe, 5 Jun 42, sub: Shortage of 
Equip, OCT HB PE Gen Troop Equip; Msgs, Mar- 
shall to USFOR London, 4 Jun 42, CM-OUT 0786, 
and 17 Jun 42, CM-OUT 4300; Memo, ACofS OPD 
for ACofS G-4, 10 Jul 42, sub: Shipts in Bulk, OPD 
520; Rpt of ETO General Board, Study 128, sub: 
Logistical Build-up in the British Isles, pp. 21-23; 
Leighton and Coakley, op. cit., Ch. XIV, pp. 33-48. 

213 Memo, Somervell for Gross, 19 Feb 43, pars. 
l(3)-(4); Memo, Gross for Somervell, 23 Feb 43, pars. 
le-f; both in OCT HB Ex File Somervell's Insp Trip 
to Africa. 

214 The documentation is voluminous and the fol- 
lowing citations are given chiefly to show the TC 
position: 4th Ind, CofT for ACofS for Opns ASF, 4 
Apr 43, OCT HB Meyer Staybacks; Memo, Meyer 
for Wylie, 9 Apr 43, giving review of developments to 
date, OCT HB Wylie Cargo; Memo, CofT for Somer- 
vell, 9 Apr 43, sub: Data on Shipping, with attach- 
ment entitled Special Problems in UK Build-up, 
OCT HB Wylie Shipping Reqmts and Allocations 
1943; Memo, Gross for Styer, 12 Apr 43, sub: Visit of 
Gen Lee, OCT HB Meyer Staybacks; Memo, Gross 
for Lutes, 16 Apr 43, sub: Cargo for UK, OCT HB 
Wylie Staybacks; Memo, ACofS for Opns ASF for 
Gross, 1 7 Apr 43, sub: Cargo for UK, OCT HB Wylie 
Shipping and Cargo for UK 1943-44; Memo, ACofS 
for Opns ASF for Dir Stock Contl Div ASF, 1 7 Apr 
43, sub: Cargo Shipts to UK, OCT HB Wylie Cargo; 
Rad, CG ASF for ETO, 20 Apr 43, CM-OUT 8165; 
Memo, Farr for Gross, 1 May 43; Memo, Gross for 



During the ensuing year the preship- 
ment plan was found an effective means of 
assuring that troops arriving in the United 
Kingdom got their equipment promptly. 
Gradually a larger and larger percentage 
of the materiel was shipped to the ports of 
embarkation by the procuring services 
rather than by the units' home stations. 
The Chief of Transportation maintained 
an unrelenting pressure on these sources 
to insure that shipments did not lag, and 
on the War Shipping Administration to 
insure that enough shipping to lift the 
cargoes was allocated. His Water Division 
reported almost daily on the outlook for 
both ships and cargo, and this report was 
the basis for aggressive action to keep the 
two in balance.'- 15 During 1943 the more 
serious problem was to get sufficient cargo 
delivered to the ports to fill the scheduled 
ships, but after the priority of the Euro- 
pean theater for both organizational 
equipment and maintenance supplies was 
raised at the end of that year, the problem 
was essentially one of keeping the flow of 
cargo to the seaboard within the capacity 
of the available shipping. 216 

Although the practice of preshipping 
organizational equipment and supplies 
was admirably suited to the build-up of 
strength in the United Kingdom, which 
was a well-organized noncombat area, a 
different system was required when the 
forces moved to the Continent. In the 
spring of 1944, with D Day set for early 
June, the European Theater of Opera- 
tions requested that all troop units arriv- 
ing from the United States after D plus 90 
be debarked on the Continent and be 

Somervell, 2 May 43; Memo, CG NYPE for CofT, 
2 May 43; last three in OCT HB Wylie Cargo; AG 
Memo 400.22 (5-16-43), 16 May 43, sub: SOP for 
Shipments of Equip and Supplies to UK; AG Memo 
400.22 (1 Jun 44), 2 Jan 44, sub: Change in SOP. 

ready to fight within fifteen days after 
landing. This meant that the troop equip- 
ment would have to be accumulated and 
consolidated in the zone of interior, then 
convoy loaded so that the entire equip- 
ment of a unit would arrive in the theater 
at about the same time and almost simul- 
taneously with the troops. 

Several possibilities were considered in 
selecting a place where equipment could 
be accumulated. The ports of embarka- 
tion were ruled out because they did not 
have the necessary space. Home stations 
were not considered favorably because 
they were mostly in the south and south- 
west and much of the equipment would 
have to be shipped to them from depots 
and manufacturers in the northeast and 
then backhauled to the North Atlantic 
ports of embarkation. The Chief of Trans- 
portation therefore urged that the Elmira 
Holding and Reconsignment Point in cen- 
tral New York be used for this purpose. In 
addition to having adequate space, the in- 
stallation was so situated that shipments 
could be effected quickly to both New 
York and Boston, the ports through which 
the bulk of the equipment was to move. 
This plan was approved by the War De- 
partment in the early summer. 217 

- 15 Some of these reports are in OCT HB Wylie 
Shipping and Cargoes for UK 1943-44. 

2)0 Joseph Bykofsky and Harold Larson, The Trans- 
portation Corps: Operatio ns Overs eas, a volume in 
preparation for this series, [Ch. Hlj Roland G. Rup- 
penthal, Logistical Support oj the Armies, Volume I: 
May 1941 -September 1944, UNITED STATES ARMY 
IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1953), Ch. VI. 

217 Memo, Farr for Ping Div ASF, 27 Apr 44, sub: 
Shipping of Units, OCT HB Farr Staybacks; Remarks 
by Col Farr at Mtg of Port Opn, Troop Mvmt, and 
Equip Representatives, 8 July 44, in Min of Port and 
Zone Comdrs Conf, Chicago, 6-9 Jul 44, pp. 15-19, 
OCT HB PE Gen Port Comdrs Conf; Memo, Farr for 
Wylie, 14 Jul 44, OCT 337 Elmira H&RP; Rpt 
attached to Memo by Capt James M. Walls, 16 Jun 
45, included in Mvmt Div Hist, OCT HB Mvmt Div 



The purpose of the new project at 
Elmira, which eventually became known 
as the Northeast Equipment Staging 
Area, was to "receive, document, assem- 
ble, consolidate, prepare for shipment, 
and ship" to the ports the organizational 
equipment and supplies forwarded to that 
installation under War Department move- 
ment orders. Shipments to the ports were 
to be made immediately upon receipt of 
calls from the port commanders/ 18 The 
materiel sent to Elmira embraced all items 
procured by the Army Service Forces 
(other than general purpose vehicles) that 
could not reach the home stations of the 
respective units before established dead- 
line dates. 

The task imposed upon the equipment 
staging area proved to be a very consider- 
able one, for among the several hundred 
units that were dispatched to the Euro- 
pean theater between August 1944 and 
February 1945 were thirty-six divisions. 
Frequently more than 150 carloads of 
freight were handled (unloaded or loaded) 
during a single day, and on several oc- 
casions the number exceeded 250 car- 
loads. 219 

September 1944 proved to be the most 
difficult month, for not only were the staff 
and the procedures relatively untried at 
that time but a number of large units, in- 
cluding two divisions, were required to 
sail earlier than had been planned. Dur- 
ing that month a considerable backlog of 
cars developed, and as a result of the con- 
gestion some shipments did not reach port 
in time for dispatch with the convoys for 
which they were scheduled. This conges- 
tion had been cleared up by mid-October 
through special efforts of the commander 
of the Elmira Holding and Reconsignment 
Point, who had charge of the equipment 
staging operation, and the Movements 

Division, OCT, which gave it general 

From the time it was established in the 
summer of 1944 until February 1945 when 
it was discontinued, the equipment stag- 
ing area at Elmira handled materiel for 
units embracing more than 700,000 
troops. The liaison officers of some units 
who went to Elmira to assist in identifying 
and segregating the equipment of their 
respective organizations reported that 
there was considerable confusion during 
September and early October resulting in 
a "serious mixing of property." The 
opinion was expressed that equipment 
should be staged nearer the ports and 
under the control of the port command- 
ers. 220 Nevertheless, the equipment stag- 
ing area served a useful purpose. It re- 
lieved home stations of the heavy task of 
receiving, consolidating, and shipping this 
equipment. It enabled technical service 
depots to avoid congestion by dispatching 
equipment as soon as it was ready rather 
than holding it until the port call was re- 
ceived. It absorbed the shock that the 
ports would otherwise have felt when the 
sailing dates of units were changed. The 
accumulation of equipment at a point 
where shipments could be made equally 
well to either New York or Boston as cir- 
cumstances might require proved ad- 
vantageous. After the difficulty experi- 
enced during the early fall, the operation 
at Elmira proceeded smoothly and ship- 
ments to the ports were made promptly. 

218 TC Cir 5-20, 4 Nov 44, sub: Northeast Equip 
Staging Area; Min of Mtg at Elmira, 5 Sep 44, sub: 
Processing Troop Equip Under the Red Lists, OCT 
HB Zones Gen Elmira H&RP; Memo, CofT for 
NYPE, BPE, Elmira H&RP, 26 Oct 44, sub: Red List 
Procedures, OCT HB Meyer Staybacks. 

219 A list of cars on hand, loaded, and unloaded will 
be found in OCT HB Zones Gen Elmira H&RP. 

220 Memo, NYPE for CofT, 14 Oct 44, OCT HB 
Meyer Staybacks. 



Indeed, Colonel Farr expressed doubt 
whether the urgent requests from the 
theater to advance the departure dates of 
numerous units could have been fulfilled 
without this equipment staging area. 221 

In order that troop units might be fully 
equipped and ready to fight soon after ar- 
rival in the European theater, it was nec- 
essary to impress into service as many fast 
cargo ships as could be spared from other 
urgent tasks. These vessels, sailing east- 
bound in fast (14-knot) convoys, reduced 
by several days the time required for the 
delivery of equipment to British and 
French ports in slow convoys. The turn- 
around of the ships was shortened by per- 
mitting them to make the homeward voy- 
age unescorted. This fast service to the 
ETO began soon after the invasion of the 
Continent and continued until the heavy 
movement of units to that theater had 
been completed. In cases of special ur- 
gency, equipment was sent directly to the 
ports of embarkation rather than through 
the equipment staging area at Elmira. To 
avoid delay in delivering equipment to 
troop units after their arrival on the Con- 
tinent, the impedimenta of a particular 
unit was loaded in the fewest possible 
ships even though this resulted in poor 
stowage and sacrifice of cargo space. In 
this instance military considerations re- 
quired a sacrifice of the principle of good 
stowage, which the Chief of Transporta- 
tion otherwise endeavored to enforce. 222 
During the five-month period August- 
December 1944, 108 vessels carrying 
chiefly organizational equipment were 
dispatched to the ETO; data for later sail- 
ings of this type were not found. 223 

The problems in the Pacific relating to 
the shipment of organizational equipment 
were similar to those in the Atlantic, but 
there were certain basic differences. On 

the one hand, a greater percentage of the 
troops moved to Pacific destinations in 
relatively small units and more of the 
troopships had substantial cargo capacity, 
making unit loading possible more often. 
On the other hand, the military situation 
in the Pacific was more fluid, and the 
practice of diverting ships from their origi- 
nal destinations to widely scattered bases 
was more disturbing to planned move- 
ments. After Generals Somervell and 
Gross had visited the Pacific theaters in the 
fall of 1943 and had listened to complaints 
about the late arrival of organizational 
equipment and the spreading of ship- 
ments over many vessels, increased efforts 
were made to improve the procedures. 224 
In 1943 the Transportation Corps and 
also General Somervell favored the pre- 
shipment of troop equipment to the 
Pacific, but the ASF Supply Division was 
already hard pressed to find enough ma- 
teriel to carry out the program of preship- 
ment to the United Kingdom and did not 
want to assume this further obligation. 225 
Accordingly, improvement in the delivery 

221 Memo, Farr for Historical Unit OCT, 20 Jun 
45, sub: History, par. 3, OCT HB Mvmt Div Rpts; 
ASF Annual Report for the Fiscal Tear 1945 (Washing- 
ton, 1946), p. 55. 

222 Memo, CofT for COMINCH US Fleet, 23 Aug 
44, sub: Unescorted Fast Freighters, OCT HB Farr 
Staybacks; Memo, CofT for Mobilization Div ASF, 
8 Sep 44, sub: Red List Procedures, OCT 322 Red 
List Units; Msg, Lt Gen Thomas T. Handy to Hq 
Oct 44, WARX 3984 1; Memo, CofS ASF for Dir 
Plans and Opns ASF, 26 Dec 44, ASF Hq CofS— Dir 
of Plans and Opns. 

223 ASF MPR, Dec 44, p. 56; Memo, CofT for 
Styer, 5 Feb 45, sub: Org Equip Ships, OCT HB Farr 

224 Memos, Gross for Wylie, 26 Sep 43 and 6 Oct 
43, OCT HB Wylie Ltrs from Gross. 

225 1st Ind, ACofT for CG ASF, 1 1 Oct 43; Memo, 
Meyer for Wylie, 14 Oct 43; both in OCT HB Meyer 
Staybacks; ASF Staff Conf, 6 Nov 43, p. 3, OCT HB 
ASF; Memo, Farr for Wylie, 2 Dec 43, OCT HB Farr 



of troop equipment to the Pacific areas 
depended on the establishment of closer 
liaison and better understanding between 
the ports of embarkation and the theater 
commands, and on the employment of 
unit loading wherever possible. When an 
equipment staging area was set up near 
the east coast of the United States in 1944, 
it was believed that a similar procedure 
would be introduced eventually on the 
west coast. This did not transpire, chiefly 
because the situation in the Pacific never 
called for as concentrated a movement of 
troops and equipment as that which at- 
tended the invasion of the European con- 
tinent. The western holding and recon- 
signment points, however, served in a 
limited way as assembly points for troop 
equipment destined for San Francisco, 
Los Angeles, and Seattle for transship- 
ment to the Pacific bases. 226 

The procedure for handling equipment 
procured by the Air Service Command for 
AAF units was somewhat different from 
that for equipment procured by the Army 
Service Forces. Throughout the war such 
equipment was sent to AAF intransit 
depots near the ports, where it was as- 
sembled and processed before being for- 
warded to the water ports of embarkation. 
These intransit depots were justified by 
the AAF on the ground that distinctive 
Air Forces materiel required special han- 
dling and technical treatment. 

The AAF complained repeatedly that 
equipment and supplies procured by the 
ASF technical services failed to reach AAF 
units overseas promptly. These units were 
expected to be ready for combat service 
soon after arrival in the theaters and the 
ASF endeavored to overcome the delays, 
but some of the causes were not easy to 
control. When stocks were short or ship- 
ping was inadequate for all needs, AAF 

units, like all other units, had to be dealt 
with according to the established priori- 
ties. Some delays were traceable to the 
inability of the AAF to release equipment 
to the ports sufficiently in advance of the 
troops. When the theaters diverted ships 
from the discharge ports for which they 
were originally destined, there were 
usually compelling local reasons. In the 
spring of 1944 the commanding general of 
the Army Air Forces proposed to the com- 
manding general of the Army Service 
Forces that materiel procured by the ASF 
technical services for AAF units be routed 
through the AAF intransit depots. The 
ASF did not concur since it did not believe 
that this change of procedure would over- 
come the difficulties. 227 

The task of getting organizational 
equipment to the theaters so that the 
troops could have it soon after their ar- 
rival proved a challenging one. A basic 
difficulty was the impracticability from a 
shipping standpoint of moving troops and 
their impedimenta in the same vessels. 
The frequent necessity of changing the 
discharge ports of cargo vessels after they 
had reached the theaters was a disturbing 
factor. During the early part of the war 
the situation was further complicated by 
the scarcity of some items of equipment 

226 Memo, CofT for SFPE, SPE, LAPE, 30 Oct 44, 
sub: Diversion of Certain Shipments to HRP, OCT 
HB Meyer Staybacks. 

227 Memo, Gross for Somervell, 23 Feb 43, OCT 
HB Ex File Somervell's Trip to Africa; Memos, Farr 
for Gross, 1 and 5 May 43; both in OCT HB Farr 
Staybacks; Memo, CG AAF for CG ASF, 19 Tun 43, 
and reply, 26 Jun 43; both in OCT 475 Oversea 
Equip Left Behind; Memo, CG AAF for CG ASF; 1 
Apr 44, and replies, 3 and 4 Apr 44; all three in OCT 
HB Meyer Staybacks; 1st Ind, CG ASF for CG AAF, 
6 Apr 4-4; Memo, C of Traf Div AAF for ACofT, 29 
May 44, sub: Baylor Committee Findings, and reply, 
1 Jun 44; last three in OCT 475 Oversea Equip Left 



and the over-all shortage of shipping. 
Gradual improvement was achieved 
through the establishment of standard pro- 
cedures, careful planning by the Chief of 
Transportation's Movements Division and 
the ports of embarkation, and close co- 
ordination between the port commanders, 
the commanders of units, the technical 
services, and the theaters. The most com- 
plete solution was recognized to be the 
shipment of equipment to the theaters in 
advance of the troops. This plan presup- 
posed, however, a stable and well-or- 
ganized base, such as existed in the United 
Kingdom during the build-up of strength 
for the invasion of the Continent, as well 
as adequate equipment and shipping. Un- 
fortunately, those conditions did not suffi- 
ciently apply to any other oversea areas to 
warrant the adoption of a broad program 
of preshipment. 

Joint Use of Troopships 
by the Armed Services 

Since both the Army and the Navy 
were constantly moving personnel to the 
same theaters, economy of shipping dic- 
tated that all troop transports should be 
available to the troops of both services. 
Some of the problems that arose in con- 
nection with the allocation and scheduling 
of the vessels because of joint utilization 
have already been discussed. 228 Other 
problems in the joint use of troopships 
concern principally the Pacific, for in that 
area the command setup was more com- 
plex, the strategic situation was more 
fluid, and the forces of the Navy and the 
Marine Corps were larger than in theaters 
across the Atlantic. 

In the Atlantic, where the Navy used a 
relatively small amount of troop space, 
the troopship sailing schedules were deter- 

mined almost entirely by Army require- 
ments. The Chief of Transportation's 
Movements Division, in consultation with 
the Water Division and the ports of em- 
barkation, endeavored to work out a pro- 
gram of sailings that would take care of 
the Army personnel expected to move and 
at the same time meet the Navy's needs. 
When the Navy desired to move personnel 
to an oversea station, the Naval Transpor- 
tation Service filed a request with the 
Army Chief of Transportation, who 
allotted space on scheduled sailings in ac- 
cordance with the approved priorities. 229 
Although adjustments in the schedules 
were sometimes necessary because of the 
Navy's requirements, this was not often 
the case. 

All troopships serving the Pacific areas 
were regarded as a single pool and their 
scheduling and utilization were under 
joint management. 230 This pool included 
the owned and the chartered transports 
operated by the Army or the Navy, the 
transports assigned to the Army by the War 
Shipping Administration and operated for 
the Army by naval personnel, and those 
operated by agents of the WSA and 
allocated to the Army or the Navy. Act- 
ing in accordance with general plans and 
instructions agreed on by the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff and the Joint Military Transporta- 
tion Committee in Washington, the Joint 
Army-Navy Surface Personnel Com- 
mittee, with headquarters at San Fran- 
cisco, determined the loading ports and 

^S^Tabove Jpp. 93^94~| 

228 For example, Memo, CofT for NTS, 22 May 43, 
sub: Trans of Naval Pers, OCT 370.5 Mvmt Blot; 
Memo, NTS for OCT, 22 May 43, sub: Oversea 
Trans for Naval Pers, and reply, 31 May 43; last two 
in OCT HB Farr Staybacks. 

J <0 Joint use of ships was practiced from the begin- 
ning of the war, but it increased after formal agree- 
ments were mad e during the first half of 1943; see 
Wardlow, op. at., pp. 170-72. 



sailing dates as well as the assignment of 
troop space. The Joint Army- Navy- WS A 
Ship Operations Committee, also located 
at San Francisco, determined such matters 
as the utilization of piers, ship repair facil- 
ities, and labor. These west coast com- 
mittees therefore exercised a broad control 
over the employment of troopships and 
the movement of troops and troop equip- 
ment. 231 The commander of the San Fran- 
cisco Port of Embarkation represented the 
Army or designated the representatives of 
the Army in these joint activities. 

Despite the fact that the joint com- 
mittees functioned smoothly and with 
considerable effectiveness, the Army Chief 
of Transportation did not like the arrange- 
ment. The basic reason was that it in- 
volved a decentralization of control and 
interfered with the plan of centralized 
control on which the Transportation Corps 
operated. General Gross favored the de- 
centralization of technical operating func- 
tions and carried the doctrine into effect 
by a broad delegation of operating re- 
sponsibilities to his field representatives. 
On the other hand, he regarded the ex- 
ercise of central control by his office over 
the employment of the means of transpor- 
tation necessary to the economical use of 
those means, and similar control of troop 
and freight movements necessary to the 
close co-ordination of inland and ocean 
transportation and the avoidance of de- 
lays. Naval logistics was characterized by 
greater decentralization, and the Navy 
was unwilling to attempt to revamp its 
system during wartime. 232 The Army 
refused to accord as much independence 
to the west coast committees as the Navy 
desired, but it found no alternative to 
going along with the plan in general. 

A number of specific complaints may 
be cited as evidence of the general dissat- 

isfaction in the Office of the Chief of 
Transportation because of the lack of a 
closely integrated control over the move- 
ment of ships and troops in the Pacific. 
The OCT believed that troopships were 
being detained on the Pacific coast longer 
than was necessary, with not enough pres- 
sure being put on the completion of re- 
pairs and on quick turnaround at the 
loading port. 233 Sufficient advance notice 
could not be obtained regarding the pro- 
spective sailings of APA's and other naval 
combatant ships to permit arrangements 
to be made for the full utilization of their 
passenger capacities. 234 The estimates of 
troopship capabilities and requirements 
prepared by the Army and the Navy were 
difficult to harmonize because of the dif- 
ferent approaches to the subject. 235 The 
Navy's lack of central control over the 
flow of personnel to the embarkation ports 
created a demand for more staging ca- 
pacity at the ports than otherwise would 
have been necessary. 236 

Additional difficulties from the point of 
view of the Chief of Transportation arose 
from the independent action of the over- 
sea commands, particularly the Pacific 

2:11 Memo, Farr For Wylie, 15 Nov 44, sub: Control 
of Shipping in the Pacific, OCT HB Mvmts Div Gen; 
Min of Mtgs of Joint Army- Navy Surface Personnel 
Committee are filed in OCT 334 JANSPC. 

232 Duncan S. Ballantine, U.S. Naval Logistics in the 
Second World War (Princeton: Princeton University 
Press, 1947), pp. 229-33. 

133 Memo, Farr for Wylie, 15 Nov 44, par. 7, cited 
n. 231; Memo, Farr for Wylie, 16 Mar 45, sub: Utili- 
zation of Troop ships, OCT 565.2. 

234 See |n. 23] above; Memo, Gross for Somervell, 31 
Dec 43, sub: Basis of Allocation, OCT HB Wylie 
Army vs Navy; Memo, Farr for Wylie, 15 Nov 44, 
par. 8 and summary 5, cited n. 23 1. 

235 Memo, Meyer for Gross, 10 Jan 43, sub: Troop- 
ship Capacities, OCT HB Meyer Staybacks. 

236 Memo, Wylie for Wood, 24 May 44, sub: 
Greenslade Rpt, and atchd comment on Appendix 
E, Recommendation 3, OCT HB Port Capacity and 



Ocean Areas, in diverting troopships and 
retaining them for intratheater use with- 
out approval from Washington.' 237 Troop 
lift was needed in the theaters for the as- 
sault and support operations that were 
being mounted there, and the theater 
commanders retained vessels that had ar- 
rived from the zone of interior in order to 
make those operations successful. Such 
retentions obviously were disturbing to 
the planners in Washington, who were en- 
deavoring to work out a balanced and 
well-timed program of troop movements 
from U.S. ports. Another disturbing factor 
from the standpoint of central planning 
and control was the lack of information 
from the theaters in regard to the move- 
ments of troopships and their return to 
U.S. ports. Here again the chief difficulty 
was with Pacific Ocean Areas. 

In view of these conditions and their 
effect on the work of the Movements Di- 
vision in planning troop movements and 
supervising their execution, Colonel Farr 
recommended in November 1944 that an 
"advance echelon" of the Movements Di- 
vision be set up at San Francisco to col- 
laborate with the joint committees in 
achieving the best possible use of troop 
carriers and in policing the execution of 
instructions issued by the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff and the Joint Military Transporta- 
tion Committee. As conceived by Colonel 
Farr, this office would have been entirely 
independent of the Army port of embar- 
kation and would not have dealt with 
operating matters; its principal function 
would have been "to get information and 
to be present when certain decisions are 
made of an over-all nature that require 
complete and thorough coordination with 
the Navy." The proposal carried the im- 
plication that Army interests on the Pa- 
cific coast needed a type of supervision 

that they had not been receiving. The 
plan was given careful consideration in 
the Office of the Chief of Transportation 
and a tentative organizational chart was 
drawn up, but in the end the creation of 
such an office was disapproved because of 
the possibility of conflict between it and 
the San Francisco Port of Embarkation. 238 
In the beginning the joint utilization of 
troopships in the Pacific was beset with 
frequent misunderstandings because of 
the lack of joint priority lists for the move- 
ment of Army and Navy personnel. With- 
out such lists the assignment of troop 
space and the distribution of the inevita- 
ble deficit in troop lift could not be equita- 
bly achieved. 239 In May 1943 the Army 
and the Navy agreed that "a single joint 
priority list for personnel for overseas 
movement to all areas of the Pacific The- 
ater except North Pacific and Southeast 
Pacific" should be prepared monthly by 
the two departments. The Operations Di- 
vision of the War Department General 
Staff represented the Army in the estab- 
lishment of joint priorities. 240 To provide 
the basis for negotiations in Washington, 
the commanders of the Central, South, 
and Southwest Pacific Areas were re- 
quired to submit joint priority lists for 
their respective commands. These were 
consolidated into over-all joint priority 

™ Memo, Farr for Wylie, 15 Nov 44, par. 9 and 
summaries 2 and 3, kited n. 231.1 

238 Re commendatio n 1, Memo, Farr for Wylie, 15 
Nov 44, kited n. 23 Q Memo, Farr for Wylie, 29 Jan 
45, sub: West Coast Operation; Memo, Farr for 
Meyer, 6 Feb 45, sub: Proposed West Coast Reorgan- 
ization; last two in OCT HB Farr Staybacks; Ltr, 
Farr to author, 20 Jul 50, p. 3, OCT HB Mvmts Div 

239 Memo, CofT for ACofS OPD, 13 Mar 43, sub: 
Shipping for South and Southwest Pacific, and reply, 
29 Mar 43; both in OCT 000-370.5 POA 1943. 

240 Agreement, Gen Marshall and Admiral Ernest 
J. King, 26 May 43, sub: Joint Priority Lists, OCT 
000-370.5 POA 1943. 



lists, which guided the Joint Army-Navy 
Surface Personnel Committee at San 
Francisco in its utilization of troopships 
and in the dispatch of troops. 241 

The joint use of troopships also called 
for the development of greater uniformity 
in the shipping procedures used by the 
Army and the Navy. This development 
was slow, but in the spring of 1945, with 
the prospect of an early shifting of em- 
phasis from the Atlantic to the Pacific, a 
comprehensive joint directive, Ocean 
Shipping Procedures (short title, OSPRO), 
was published. 242 The primary object of 
the publication was to establish uniform 
procedures for regulating the preparation 
and dispatch of shipping documents and 
for reporting information regarding ship 
movements, passengers embarked, and 
freight loaded. These procedures applied 
not only to vessels sailing between the 
zone of interior and the theaters, but also 
to those sailing between theaters, since it 
was anticipated that the redeployment of 
troops after the defeat of Germany would 
involve substantial shipments from Europe 
and the Mediterranean directly to Pacific 
bases. In matters on which complete uni- 
formity could not be achieved, the differing 
procedures of the Army and the Navy 
were explained, so that each service would 
be informed regarding the other's methods. 
The agreement provided for joint central 
record control units in each theater and at 
the principal U.S. ports to assist in the 
administration of the plan. The establish- 
ment of such units, known as Army-Navy 
Shipping Information Agencies (short 
title, ANSIA's), had barely begun when 
hostilities ceased. 

The joint use of troopships was essential 
as a means of insuring that full advantage 
would be taken of the capacities of vessels 

sailing under Army or Navy control and 
that the priorities established by theater 
commanders for the shipment of personnel 
were observed. Differences arose over the 
administration of the plan, and some of 
the supporting arrangements, which obvi- 
ously were desirable, were slow in devel- 
oping. The misunderstandings and delays 
were attributable chiefly to the differing 
systems employed by the Army and the 
Navy for controlling transportation and 
movements and the fact that there had 
been virtually no co-ordination on this 
level before the war. By the end of the war 
substantial progress toward such co-ordi- 
nation had been made. 

A Test of Method and Efficiency 

Oversea troop movements provided a 
real test of method and operating effi- 
ciency. The number of agencies concerned 
with both the planning and the execution 
phases was a complicating factor. The 
many types of units belonging to the 
Ground Forces, the Air Forces, and the 
Service Forces, and the loosely organized 
groups of individual replacements implied 
a wide variety of problems. The necessity 
of shipping units and their organizational 
equipment on different vessels in most 
instances, yet in such a manner that the 
troops could have their equipment soon 
after arrival overseas, added to the diffi- 
culties. Co-ordination was the basic re- 
quirement, and in December 1941 the 

Memo, GofT for GG SFPE, 27 Jul 43, sub: Pri- 
ority Lists for Central, South, and Southwest Pacific, 
OCT 000-370.5 POA 1943. 

■M2 W D TM 38-41 2/OPNAV 39-H3, United States 
Army and Navy Ocean Shipping Procedures (short 
title, OSPRO); Monthly Vessel Utilization Summary, 
Jul 45, OCT HB Topic Army-Navy Joint Logistics; 
Memo, SFPE for CofT, 8 Oct 45, sub: Hist Record, 
and incl entitled ANSI A, OCT HB Topic Port 



machinery for this purpose was very 
inadequate. Later, when the system had 
been improved as the result of experience, 
large shipments of troops were moved to 
the seaboard, staged, and embarked with 
commendable smoothness. 

The formulation and publication of 
detailed procedures was a prerequisite to 
the satisfactory execution of troop move- 
ments. This was true because of the many 
agencies involved and the multitude of 
services to be performed in making troops 
ready for movement to and service in the 
theaters. The instructions dealing with the 
preparation of units and individuals for 
oversea movement covered every step of 
the operation and fixed the responsibili- 
ties of each agency, and they were of in- 
estimable value. Even then it was neces- 
sary for the port staging areas, in order to 
have troops completely ready for embar- 
kation, to perform many services that 
should have been performed by other 

Assignment of a key role to the port 
commanders was an important factor in 
the successful regulation of the flow of 
troops to the theaters. The control that 
port commanders exercised over the de- 
parture of troops for the seaboard, the 
processing and training at the staging 
areas, and the embarkation on the trans- 
ports enabled them to so co-ordinate all 
stages of the operation as to avoid the con- 
gestion of port facilities, the waste of rail 
equipment, and the delay of ship sailings. 
The close contact — by teletype, radio, and 
cable — maintained by the ports of embar- 
kation with the theaters they served en- 
abled them to administer theater priorities 
effectively, to meet emergency require- 
ments, and at the same time to keep the 
theater commanders informed regarding 
the status of the troops they had requested. 

Like many other relationships, this co- 
ordination between the ports of embarka- 
tion and the theaters was developed only 
gradually, and it was more successfully 
accomplished in the Atlantic than in the 

Wartime experience demonstrated the 
value of the port staging area both as a 
reservoir in which troops could be held 
pending embarkation and as a place 
where units that were under strength 
when they left their home stations could 
be filled, shortages of individual equip- 
ment could be made up, and minor defi- 
ciencies in physical condition and training 
could be corrected. Although home sta- 
tions gradually improved their perform- 
ance in preparing units and individuals 
for oversea service before shipping them to 
the ports, they frequently fell short of that 
goal. Their performance never supported 
the theory, which was given some atten- 
tion in the early days of the war, that even 
in periods of heavy troop movement stag- 
ing areas could be dispensed with and 
troops could be moved directly from home 
stations to shipside. 

Troop movements were necessarily 
tailored to fit the troopships that were 
available. The situation that confronted 
the Army during the early months of the 
war was bleak indeed, but soon the in- 
crease in troop lift became rapid, permit- 
ting troop shipments to be increased 
accordingly. The American capacity was 
multiplied through the conversion of exist- 
ing passenger ships to troop carriers, the 
construction of additional passenger ships, 
and especially through the conversion of 
many new cargo ships to troopships. The 
virtual pooling of the American and Brit- 
ish troopship fleets to serve the Allied cause 
greatly helped the U.S. Army, especially 
in the North Atlantic. The pooling of 



Army and Navy resources in the Pacific 
facilitated the movement of troops to the 
Pacific bases. The intensive operation of 
the troopships under Army control and 
the plan of loading them to the maximum 
practical capacity were additional meas- 
ures employed to hasten the build-up of 
strength overseas. In brief, every effort was 
made to utilize the troop lift — admittedly 
a limiting factor — to best advantage. 

The movement of organizational equip- 
ment had to match the movement of 
troops, but it was affected by different cir- 
cumstances both in the zone of interior and 
overseas. Special methods were adopted to 
meet the exceptional requirements of the 
European theater in 1943 and 1944, but 
otherwise the task was essentially one of 
insuring that equipment was properly 
marked, getting it delivered to the ports of 
embarkation at about the same time as the 

troops, processing and shipping it as 
promptly as possible, and keeping the the- 
aters of destination informed regarding 
the shipments en route and those that 
were delayed. Many difficulties were 
encountered and the performance was 

The salient fact regarding oversea move- 
ments in World War II is that, after the 
transitional period immediately following 
Pearl Harbor, there were no serious inter- 
ruptions in the shipment of troops and 
their equipment to the theaters in accord- 
ance with strategic plans. The inadequacy 
of the early procedures, failure to execute 
properly the improved procedures that 
were in effect later, and other difficulties 
inherent in so complex an operation re- 
sulted in some temporary annoyance and 
confusion but did not disturb the military 


Redeployment and 

The most complicated and in some 
ways the most difficult phase of the war 
from the standpoint of troop transporta- 
tion came after the defeat of Germany. 
Up to that time the movement of troops 
had been mainly from the zone of in- 
terior to the oversea commands; traffic 
between theaters and return traffic to the 
United States had been on a limited scale. 
The end of hostilities in Europe, followed 
closely by the Japanese surrender, in- 
volved more than simply a change in di- 
rection for the major troop movement; it 
involved broad changes in procedures and 
the handling of a far greater volume of 
traffic on land and on sea than had been 
handled at any earlier stage of the war. 

During the redeployment and the re- 
patriation periods — that is, between V-E 
and V-J Days, and after V-J Day — the 
primary objective was to move the maxi- 
mum number of troops. After the German 
surrender heavy shipments were necessary 
in order to transfer sufficient forces from 
Europe to the Pacific to maintain an ever- 
increasing pressure on Japan. The prog- 
ress of the campaigns under General of 
the Army Douglas MacArthur and Fleet 
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz had exceeded 
expectations; the Japanese strength obvi- 
ously was deteriorating and no time was 
to be lost in pushing the war to a conclu- 

sion. After the Japanese capitulation pub- 
lic opinion in the United States demanded 
that the troops be brought home and de- 
mobilized with utmost dispatch. Provid- 
ing transportation to meet these require- 
ments proved to be a major task for the 

The Army's transportation task in- 
cluded, in addition to returning troops, 
heavy movements of patients from the 
theaters to the zone of interior, and after 
the fighting was over the repatriation of 
the war dead. Both movements involved 
peculiar problems and required special 
procedures. The return of civilians, in- 
cluding the dependents of military per- 
sonnel, also gave rise to special problems, 
but this traffic was not allowed to inter- 
fere with homeward military movements. 

While the bulk of the traffic was moved 
by ship and by rail, air transportation was 
used during the redeployment and re- 
patriation periods to an extent that was 
not possible earlier. However, the aircraft 
so employed were under the control of the 
Army Air Forces, and the Chief of Trans- 
portation was not responsible for such 

Return Traffic Before V-E Day 

Although the number of passengers 
landed at U.S. ports from Army troop- 




ships before V-E Day was small compared 
to the number embarked for oversea 
areas, the volume of return traffic never- 
theless became substantial as the war 
progressed. The experience gained in han- 
dling this return traffic was valuable to 
the Army in dealing with the larger prob- 
lems that developed during redeployment 
and repatriation. 

The military element of the wartime 
homeward traffic was made up chiefly of 
rotational and temporary duty groups, 
casuals returning on furlough or leave, 
and patients. Very few units were re- 
turned to the United States before V-E 
Day. The Army transported some per- 
sonnel of the U.S. Navy and of the Allied 
forces, and prisoners of war constituted a 

considerable movement during the cam- 
paigns in North Africa and continental 
Europe. Among the civilians debarked 
were representatives of the nonmilitary 
branches of the U.S. and Allied Govern- 
ments, the employees of contractors who 
had performed construction and other 
work for the Army abroad, dependents 
of military personnel who were over- 
seas when the war began, and the brides 
and children of soldiers who had married 
while in foreign countries. Up to the time 
of the German surrender the largest 
monthly total of passengers debarked at 
U.S. ports from ships under Army control 
was 146,246 in September 1944. Prisoners 
of war, chiefly from the European theater, 
accounted for 41 percent of that number. 



There was some redeployment of units 
from the less active to the more active 
oversea commands before V-E Day. The 
reduction of strength in Alaska, which 
began in the late summer of 1943, resulted 
in a number of units being returned to the 
United States for reorganization and re- 
assignment. A considerable transfer of 
units from the South Pacific Area to the 
Central and Southwest Pacific Areas took 
place as Allied forces pushed the perim- 
eter of the Japanese forces northward and 
westward. During the early months of 
1945 a number of units with their impedi- 
menta were moved from the Persian Gulf 
Command to the European Theater of 
Operations and to China, and from India 
to the Pacific Ocean Areas. These move- 
ments, however, required no extensive re- 
distribution of shipping such as became 
necessary after the German capitulation. 

The increasing number of casual troops 
returning to the United States during 
1943 necessitated a clearer definition of 
categories and a more explicit statement 
on procedures. To this end consolidated 
instructions were issued by the War De- 
partment in September in a document en- 
titled, Procedures for the Return of Indi- 
viduals (short title: PRI), and these in- 
structions were revised and amplified in 
August 1944. 1 Although it dealt with 
soldiers traveling as individuals, PRI con- 
templated that the majority of individuals 
would be placed in rotational (RO) 
groups or temporary duty (TD) groups 
under group commanders. The groups 
were to be organized in the theater so that 
each would include troops destined for a 
single reception station in the zone of in- 
terior. Such grouping was expected to 
have advantages from the standpoint of 
administration and discipline and also to 
facilitate transportation arrangements. 

The instructions stated the basis on which 
rotational and temporary duty troops 
were to be selected, the records that were 
to be kept, the processing that was to be 
done in the theaters, and the security in- 
doctrination that was to be provided. Of 
more particular interest to the Transpor- 
tation Corps, PRI specified the informa- 
tion that was to be radioed to the zone of 
interior by theater commanders when 
troops embarked, the issuance and disposi- 
tion of group or individual movement 
orders, the procedures to be followed dur- 
ing the homeward voyage, the processing 
to be given at the ports of debarkation, 
and the manner of forwarding from the 
ports to the reception stations. PRI also 
covered the handling of troops at and 
beyond the reception stations. 

The prompt and orderly handling of 
troops when they arrived at U.S. ports 
depended to a considerable extent on the 
degree to which the theaters fulfilled their 
responsibilities regarding the movements. 
In addition to organizing rotational and 
temporary duty personnel into groups and 
providing them with escort officers, the 
theater commanders were required to 
notify the Chief of Transportation each 
month how many passengers were await- 
ing evacuation to the zone of interior. 
They were also required to send a radio 
message immediately after each troopship 
departure giving the numbers and cate- 
gories of passengers embarked. 2 Army 

' Memos, TAG for CG AAF, CG AGF, GG ASF, 
et al., 26 Sep 43, AG 370.5 (22 Sep 43); 16 Aug 44, 
(10 Aug 44); 23 Dec 44, Supp. 1,(22 Dec 44); 17 Feb 
45, Supp. 2, (17 Feb 45); 6 May 45, Supp. 3, 
(25 Apr 45). 

- Detailed information was given the theaters 
regarding the capacities of vessels when carrying 
various types of troops to aid them in planning em- 
barkations. OCT Misc Ltr 28, 14 Jul 44; 1st Ind, 
Mvmts Div for Contl Div OCT, 27 Nov 44; both in 
OCT 569.5 Pers Capacity of Transports. 



ports in the United States were heavily 
engaged with outbound troop movements, 
and advance information regarding in- 
bound movements was needed in order 
that the ports might arrange for accom- 
modations at the staging areas, the assign- 
ment of processing personnel, the reserva- 
tion of hospital beds for patients, and the 
provision of railroad equipment for the 
onward journey. The theater commands 
did not always provide the desired data. 
As late as March 1945 the Movements Di- 
vision complained that the Southwest 
Pacific Area and the Pacific Ocean Areas 
were not complying with the instructions, 
since their advices often were entirely lack- 
ing or were not sufficiently explicit. 3 The 
theaters, although they protested strongly 
when full and prompt information was 
not received regarding troops en route to 
them, were themselves sometimes at fault 
in not providing such information on 
homeward-bound troops. 

Maintenance of morale required close 
attention on the part of transport com- 
manders during the voyage back to the 
United States. Men returning from over- 
seas who were eligible for further military 
service were inclined to take a gloomy 
view of the future and to allow their spirits 
to sag. To offset this tendency, transport 
commanders were instructed to make the 
maximum use of entertainment, exercise, 
and orientation courses to keep the men 
occupied. 4 Early in 1945 an experiment 
was undertaken at Hampton Roads to as- 
certain the feasibility of placing enter- 
tainers on vessels after their arrival in the 
harbor to provide diversion for the soldiers 
during the interval between arrival and 
debarkation. Although the experiment 
was an unqualified success as a morale 
lifter and the results were brought to the 
attention of other ports, the records do not 

disclose the extent to which the plan was 
adopted. 5 

The ports for which returning troop- 
ships were destined needed accurate in- 
formation regarding the time of arrival in 
order to make arrangements for the 
prompt handling of the vessels and their 
passengers and to prepare for any repairs 
that might be necessary before the next 
voyage. The work of the ports was so 
closely scheduled that unexpectedly early 
or late arrivals were disconcerting. To em- 
phasize this fact the Army port com- 
mander at New York stated that when a 
vessel with troops, patients, and other 
passengers was about to arrive there were 
forty-two agencies to be notified, and hos- 
pital cars and ambulances sometimes had 
to be brought from considerable dis- 
tances. 6 The cryptographic messages from 
the ships were received at shore stations of 
the Navy and at first were transmitted 
"through channels" to the ports — a pro- 
cedure that involved a loss of time. When 
the return traffic from Europe began to 
increase, direct communication between 
the Navy's Eastern Sea Frontier and the 
ports was authorized so that the ports 
might have a maximum amount of time 

: Msg, Mvmts Div OCT to Theaters, 30 Aug 44, 
CM-OUT 23724; Msg, Mvmts Div OCT to POA, 2 
Oct 44, CM-OUT 40317; Memo, Berzelius for Wylie, 
16 Mar 45, sub: Problems That Concern Mvmts Div, 
OCT HB Farr Staybacks. 

4 Memo, CofT for Mobilization Div ASF, 7 Aug 44, 
sub: Morale of Troops Returning From Overseas, 
OCT HB Farr Staybacks; paraphrase of Msg to The- 
aters, 5 Dec 44, OCT HB PE Gen Troops Inbound. 
Transport commanders also were instructed to en- 
force preventive maintenance on rifles and other 
individual equipment during the voyage. 

5 Memo, CofT for CG SPE, 27 Mar 45, sub: Recep- 
tion of Returning Pers, and atchd rpt from HRPE, 
10 Mar 45, OCT HB Farr Staybacks. 

Min of East Coast Port Comdrs Conf Relative to 
V-E Day Activities, 1 1 Apr 45, p. 14, OCT HB TC 
Gen Redepl. 



in which to arrange for debarkations. 7 The 
requirement that vessels keep the ports in- 
formed regarding changes in the estimated 
time of arrival was in no sense burden- 
some, but uniform compliance was not 
obtained. 8 Failure of ships to notify ports 
of changes in estimated arrival times be- 
came a much more serious problem after 
redeployment began. 9 

The port commanders were instructed 
to pass returning troops through their 
establishments as quickly as possible. 10 
The soldiers heard a brief address of wel- 
come immediately after debarkation, then 
were forwarded at once to the staging 
area, where they were to be processed. 
The staging area commanders endeavored 
to start the men on the next leg of their 
journey within twenty-four hours. Physi- 
cal inspections were made, primarily with 
a view to preventing the spread of infec- 
tious diseases, except when there had 
been similar inspections by the ship's sur- 
geon before debarkation. Pay records were 
checked and payments brought up to 
date. Fresh clothing and equipment suit- 
able for the onward journey were pro- 
vided. The records of each rotational and 
temporary duty group were examined to 
insure that they were intact and in posses- 
sion of the group commander and that the 
entries were up to date. The movement 
orders of these groups were checked, and 
as soon as firm arrangements for rail 
transportation could be completed the re- 
ception stations for which the groups were 
destined were notified of the number of 
personnel involved and the probable time 
of arrival. Casuals that did not go to re- 
ception stations left the staging areas as 
individuals, or as groups when practica- 
ble, after their travel orders had been 
checked to verify the authority for their 
movement to new permanent stations, 

officer candidate schools, separation cen- 
ters, or to other destinations when they 
were on emergency furlough or leave. 11 

Observation of troops arriving at New 
York from the European theater during 
the winter of 1944-45 disclosed that the 
morale of returning troops was being ad- 
versely affected by incorrect information 
received in the theater regarding their 
movements and responsibilities upon 
reaching the zone of interior. Promises 
made in the theaters and hopes thus built 
up in the minds of returnees could not be 
realized under the approved procedures. 
The Information and Education Division 
of the Army Service Forces was responsi- 
ble for keeping theater commanders cor- 
rectly informed regarding these matters, 
but adequate dissemination of information 
in the theaters was difficult because of the 
fluctuating military situation and chang- 
ing personnel. The information-education 
organization in the European theater, 
initially attached to the headquarters of 
the Services of Supply, was transferred to 

7 Remarks of Maj Jerry A. Griffin, G of Returning 
Troops Br, Mvmts Div OCT, at Mtg of Port Comdrs, 
Opng Representatives, and Port Air Officers, 8 Jul 44, 
in Min of Port and Zone Comdrs Conf, Chicago, 5-9 
Jul 44, pp. 2 1 , 22, OCT HB PE Gen. 

* Memo, Farr for Gross, 29 Apr 43; Min of Mtg, 
Oversea Troop Br, Mvmts Div OCT, 22 Jul 43; both 
in OCT 370.5 Debarkation. 
9 See below, [p~T8971 

10 This paragraph is based on PRI, 16 Aug 44, Sees. 
XI, XII, XIII. See also Min of Port and Zone Comdrs 
Conf, Chicago, 6-9 July 44. Mtg of Port Operating, 
Troop Mvmt, and Equip Representatives, 8 Jul 44, 
pp. 6-8, OCT HB PE Gen. 

11 Separation centers, the first of which was estab- 
lished in March 1944, and reception stations eventu- 
ally were operated as components of the personnel 
centers that were created at eighteen military posts in 
the summer of 1944; the number of personnel centers 
was later increased to twenty-two. WD Cir 113, 20 
Mar 44, Sec. IX; WD Cir 292, 1 1 Jul 44; WD Cir 422, 
26 Oct 44; WD press release, 1 Sep 44, sub: 18 Cen- 
ters Announced for Discharging and Processing Army 
Personnel, OCT HB TC Gen Redepl. 



USS WAKEFIELD LANDING TROOPS from the European Theater of Operations. 

the staff of the theater commander in 
order that it might operate more effec- 
tively. The port commanders in the zone 
of interior were responsible for keeping 
transport commanders supplied with cor- 
rect information so that the orientation 
given during the return voyage would 
coincide with that given in the theaters. 12 
Rotational and temporary duty troops 
made a number of trips in quick succes- 
sion after leaving the ports of debarkation. 
As has been noted, all proceeded first to 
reception stations. While at the reception 
stations rotational troops, which were to 
remain in the zone of interior, received 
orders to proceed to redistribution stations 
but were allowed to take a furlough of 
twenty-one days en route; at the redis- 
tribution stations they received assign- 
ments to new stations to which they pro- 

ceeded at once. 13 Temporary duty troops, 
which were to go back to their oversea sta- 
tions after a thirty-day period of recupera- 
tion, returned at the end of that period to 
the same reception stations; AGF and 
ASF troops remained at the reception sta- 
tions until called to the ports of embarka- 
tion, while AAF troops proceeded from 
the reception stations to AAF redistribu- 
tion stations and thence to the ports. 14 

Although considerable experience was 
gained in handling returning troops before 
Germany surrendered, the War Depart- 

lA Memos, CG NYPE for CofT, 27 Mar 45 and 14 
Apr 45, sub: Info and Education for Returnees; 1st 
Ind, CofT for GG NYPE, 26 Apr 45; all in OCT HB 
Demob Ping Unit Gen Correspondence. 

" WD Cir 303, 17 Jul 44; ASF Cir 235, 27 Jul 44; 
ASF Cir 253, 7 Aug 44; ASF Cir 402, 9 Dec 44. 

,4 PRI, 16 Aug 44, pars. 76, 77; TC Cir 100-5, 
revised 20 Mar 45. 



ment foresaw that redeployment would 
involve many adjustments in facilities and 
procedures. Accordingly, it started early 
and did a meticulous job in preparing to 
handle the troops that would be brought 
back to the United States after V-E Day. 

Preparations for Redeployment 

The task of redeploying its forces after 
the defeat of Germany was recognized by 
the Army as both gigantic and complex. 15 
A decision had to be made as to which 
units would be shipped from Europe di- 
rectly to the Pacific and which would be 
returned to the zone of interior for either 
reassignment or demobilization. An equi- 
table basis had to be established for the 
separation of some soldiers from the serv- 
ice and the retention of others. Means had 
to be found to maintain the morale of 
those who were being assigned to new 
oversea stations. All possible shipping had 
to be mobilized in order to effect rede- 
ployment with the greatest possible speed. 
Yet the flow of troops to and through the 
United States had to be regulated so as to 
avoid congesting the ports and the rail- 
roads. Care had to be exercised also to 
avoid glutting the limited number of ports 
in the Pacific areas that were to serve as 
bases for the invasion of Japan. The intri- 
cacy of the task was so apparent to the 
War Department, and to the other agen- 
cies concerned, that the planning to meet 
it was begun long before the invasion of 
continental Europe. 

The planning for redeployment pro- 
ceeded on several levels and therefore 
posed a broad problem of co-ordination. 
The Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff went into all aspects 
of the subject extensively, including trans- 
portation. 16 The Combined Shipping Ad- 

justment Board, a high-level British- 
American civilian agency, dealt with the 
employment of the shipping that was 
available to the United Nations. 17 The 
War Department developed plans relating 
to all phases of Army redeployment, to 
which Army Service Forces headquarters 
and the Chief of Transportation made 
contributions in their respective spheres. 
The Chief of Transportation joined with 
the Naval Transportation Service and the 
War Shipping Administration in planning 
for the readjustments in the allocation 
and operation of American vessels that 
would become necessary after the defeat 
of Germany. There also were discussions 
between the Chief of Transportation, the 
Office of Defense Transportation, and the 
Association of American Railroads re- 
garding the effect of redeployment on 
domestic transportation. This brief review 
can present only those aspects of the broad 
subject that were of special interest to the 
Chief of Transportation. 

Since planning for redeployment went 
hand in hand with planning for demobili- 
zation, such planning may be said to have 
started in the War Department in June 
1942, when an advisory board of officers 
was appointed to initiate a study of the 
postwar Military Establishment. 18 Active 
planning in the Army Service Forces 
began in the spring of 1943. In July of that 

13 See minutes of ASF press conference held imme- 
diately after V-E Day, especially remarks of General 
Somervell and General Gross, which relate to trans- 
portation, OCT HB Gen Redepl. 

16 Planning and TC participation is reviewed in 
Memo, Ping Div for Exec OCT, 23 Jul 45, sub: Rede- 
ployment Ping, OCT HB TC Gen Redepl. 

17 See Wardlow, The Transporta tion Corp s: Responsi- 
bilities, Organization, and Operations \ p. 1 65 J for the pur- 
pose and organization of the.CSAB"! 

!S This paragraph based on Maj. John C. Sparrow, 
History of Personnel Demobilization in the United 
States Army, DA Pamphlet 20-210, July 1952, Ch. II. 



year a Special Planning Division was 
established in the War Department Spe- 
cial Staff to deal with both the industrial 
and the military aspects of demobilization. 
In September 1944 the War Department 
announced that the Army had "adopted a 
plan for the readjustment of military per- 
sonnel after the defeat of Germany and 
prior to the defeat of Japan calling for a 
partial and orderly demobilization from 
its present peak strength." 19 This plan 
was subject to revision, of course, both 
before and after the end of hostilities in 
Europe, as further attention was given to 
requirements and procedures and as the 
circumstances of redeployment were more 
clearly seen. 

The War Department readjustment 
regulations (RR) for personnel, in which 
the results of the extensive studies were 
crystallized, were published in a series of 
six pamphlets, all of which bore directly 
or indirectly on the responsibilities of the 
Chief of Transportation. 20 These regula- 
tions established four categories of troops: 
Category I troops were those to be re- 
tained in the same commands; Category 
II troops were those to be transferred from 
one theater to another; Category III 
troops were surplus units in the theaters 
that were to be reorganized and reclassi- 
fied as Category I or Category II; and 
Category IV troops were units to be dis- 
banded. 21 

Under the War Department's plan for 
redeployment, enough troops were to be 
shipped directly from Europe to the 
Pacific — the quickest route — to maintain 
maximum pressure against Japan. Con- 
sistent with that principle, as many as 
possible were to be redeployed by the 
slower route through the United States 
with time out for furlough before being 
reshipped to the Pacific. Some who re- 

turned to the United States were to be 
retained in the service and assigned to 
duty elsewhere than in the Pacific. As 
many as qualified for discharge under the 
Army's point system were to be returned 
to the zone of interior for immediate sepa- 
ration from the service. 22 All of these men 
would require ocean transportation — 
some for the long voyage from Europe to 
the Pacific, some from Europe to the 
United States and thence to the Pacific, 
and some only from Europe to the United 
States. In addition to troop transports, 
cargo shipping would be required for the 
organizational equipment and supplies of 
all troops destined for the Pacific. A basic 
responsibility of the Chief of Transporta- 
tion in connection with redeployment was, 
therefore, the mobilization of the necessary 

The plans formulated by the Chief of 
Transportation for the utilization of ship- 
ping during the redeployment period 

19 WD press release, 6 Sep 44, sub: WD Demobili- 
zation Plan After the Defeat of Germany; ASF Plan 
for Redeployment, Readjustment, and Demobiliza- 
tion (Period I), 13 Sep 44, OCT HB Demob Ping Unit 
Demob Ping WD Policies. 

20 These pamphlets, the latest revisions of which are 
in OCT HB Demob Ping Unit Redepl Gen, were as 

RR 1-1 Plan for Readjustment of Military Person- 
nel After the Defeat of Germany 

RR 1-2 Procedure for Readjustment Movements 

RR 1-3 Athletic and Recreation Program 

RR 1-4 Army Education Program 

RR 1-5 Procedures for the Readjustment of Offi- 
cers, Warrant Officers, and Flight Officers After the 
Defeat of Germany 

RR 1-6 Standing Operating Procedures for the 
Demobilization of Category IV Elements. 

21 RR 1-1. 

22 Detailed procedures for the zone of interior and 
the theaters were published in AG Memo 320.2 (15 
Feb 45), 27 Feb 45, sub: Policies and Procedures Gov- 
erning the Redeployment of the Army; AG Memo 
370.5 (25 Apr 45), 2 May 45, sub: Revision of 
Annex B. 



were necessarily tentative until the strat- 
egy and the troop basis for the final thrust 
against Japan had been determined. 
Nevertheless, such plans were made and 
remade with each change in the strategic 
formula so that the shipping aspect would 
always be assured of proper considera- 
tion. A member of the Chief of Transpor- 
tation's Planning Division was transferred 
to the Special Planning Division of the 
Special Staff to work on the transporta- 
tion phase of redeployment and to assure 
mutual understanding between the two 
offices. 23 

In February 1945, when redeployment 
planning by both the Joint Chiefs of Staff 
and the Combined Chiefs of Staff was 
taking final shape, General Gross con- 
tended that attention was being directed 
too largely to the problem of moving the 
troops and not sufficiently to the problem 
of making them operational — that is, hav- 
ing them equipped for action. At that 
time it was contemplated that over a 
period of about twelve months approxi- 
mately 405,000 troops would be shipped 
from Europe directly to the Pacific and 
some 875,000 via the United States to the 
Pacific. General Gross urged that im- 
mediate consideration be given by all 
planning agencies to a study recently com- 
pleted in his office that presented some 
essential data on the subject. 24 

The study presented an analysis of the 
time required to move troops and or- 
ganizational equipment from Europe to 
the Pacific (Philippines), breaking down 
the total period into the time likely to 
elapse between the issuance of movement 
orders and actual departure from Europe, 
the time required for recuperation and 
training either in the United States or in 
the Pacific, and the time spent in travel 
over sea and land. The calculations indi- 

cated that, assuming no delay on account 
of equipment, 1 26 days would be required 
for troops to be redeployed directly and 
made operational; 179 days would be re- 
quired in the case of troops redeployed 
through the United States. In contrast, 
177 days would elapse before equipment 
shipped in unit assemblies direct from 
Europe to the Pacific would reach the 
troops, 187 days would elapse if equip- 
ment were shipped by the direct route in 
bulk and placed in depots before being 
issued to troops, and 262 days would 
elapse in the case of equipment shipped 
through the United States. From the cal- 
culations presented in this study, the Chief 
of Transportation concluded that the 
movement of equipment should be the 
controlling factor in scheduling the rede- 
ployment of troops; that the units to be 
redeployed directly should be nominated 
as early as possible so that their equip- 
ment might be started ahead of them; that 
so far as possible equipment should be 
shipped in bulk rather than as unit as- 
semblies; and that the Pacific commands 
should be directed to establish equipment 
staging areas to facilitate bringing troops 
and their impedimenta together. 

Although the poverty in troop lift, 
which had been one of the chief handicaps 
of the U.S. forces during the early days of 
war, had been largely overcome by in- 
creasing the capacities of existing pas- 
senger vessels, constructing new troop- 
ships, and converting freighters to troop 
carriers, as V-E Day approached this 

2:1 Maj. (later Lt, Col.) Ronald B. Shuman, who had 
been with the OCT since its establishment, was trans- 
ferred to the Special Planning Division soon after it 
was set up in 1943. 

2 " Memo, CofT for Dir Plans and Opns ASF, 26 
Feb 45, sub: Logistical Implications; Study, Redeploy- 
ment Transportation Implications, 26 Feb 45, and 
appended Preliminary Revision of Redeployment; all 
in OCT HB TC Gen Redepl. 



greatly expanded capacity was seen as in- 
adequate to the needs of the redeployment 
period. Those needs involved not only the 
speedy transfer of troops from Europe and 
the United States to the Pacific, but the 
repatriation of troops from numerous 
areas that would become militarily unim- 
portant with the surrender of Germany. A 
full year before V-E Day, the Planning Di- 
vision in the Office of the Chief of Trans- 
portation pointed out that the completion 
of the troopship construction program for 
1945 would not provide the troop spaces 
required for redeployment and that the 
conversion of further freighters would 
therefore be necessary. 25 A British-Ameri- 
can study, submitted to the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff in February 1945, recog- 
nized the danger of a substantial deficit in 
American troop lift and outlined ways of 
dealing with it. These ways included over- 
loading of troopships, conversion of addi- 
tional freighters, assistance from Allied, 
neutral, and captured enemy shipping, 
use of APA's and other naval vessels, full 
use of combatant aircraft, and careful co- 
ordination of the employment of all vessels 
under control of the Allied nations to 
insure maximum utilization of their 
capacities. 26 

Redeployment required co-ordination 
between the Army and the Navy in sched- 
uling the return of personnel to the United 
States, and it was foreseen that such co- 
ordination would be even more important 
when the large-scale repatriation of forces 
from the Pacific began. A proposal to this 
end was placed before the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff by the Navy in November 1944. 27 
Under this proposal the preparation and 
implementation of plans would have been 
handled on the staff level, and the Trans- 
portation Corps and the Naval Transpor- 
tation Service would have been charged 

only with providing the means of transpor- 
tation. Colonel Farr, as head of the Chief 
of Transportation's Movements Division, 
opposed the arrangement. He argued that 
staff decisions frequently involve long dis- 
cussions, and the loss of time would prove 
a serious disadvantage in the effort to 
return troops at the maximum rate and to 
make maximum use of the transportation 
facilities. He urged that, after the basic 
policies had been established on the staff 
level, all operating matters relating to 
transportation be left to the appropriate 
operating agencies. Colonel Farr's stand 
was in harmony with the Chief of Trans- 
portation's protest, mentioned earlier, 
against the interference of higher echelons 
in technical matters. The Navy subse- 
quently withdrew its proposal from the 
JCS docket on the ground that a study of 
redeployment policies had been under- 
taken by the Combined Chiefs of Staff. 28 

The ports of embarkation, in addition 
to responsibility for processing Category II 
units (those being transferred from one 
theater to another) and forwarding them 
to reception stations, were given another 
responsibility for the redeployment and 
repatriation periods — that of inactivating 
Category IV units (those to be disbanded) 
and forwarding the members to personnel 
centers for further disposition. For the lat- 
ter purpose the port commanders were 

" Memo, Stokes for Wylie, 8 May 44, sub: Pro- 
posals on C-4 Const Program, OCT HB TC Gen 

26 CCS 746/11, 8 Feb 45, title: Over-all Review of 
Cargo and Troop Shipping Position for Remainder of 
1945, Tab D to Annex B to Appendix B, p. 30. This 
study, which represented the joint efforts of the 
CMTC and the CSAB, assumed the defeat of Ger- 
many by 1 July 1945. 

"JCS 1154, 6 Nov 44. 

2 » Memo, Farr for Stokes, 8 Nov 44, OCT HB Farr 
Stay backs; JMT 83/2, 11 Jan 45. 



directed to establish disposition centers in 
their staging areas, where the processing 
involved in disbanding the units and pre- 
paring the soldiers for their onward jour- 
ney was to be performed. 29 Early planning 
in the War Department had contemplated 
that units to be disbanded would be for- 
warded from the ports to redistribution 
centers, where they would be inactivated 
and the men reclassified before being for- 
warded to reception stations or separation 
centers. The Chief of Transportation be- 
lieved that the interposition of such redis- 
tribution centers involved an unnecessary 
waste of time and transportation, and it 
was for that reason that the inactivation 
of units was eventually assigned to the port 
commanders. For the same reason the 
Chief of Transportation favored placing 
reception stations and separation centers 
at the same installations, and the logic of 
this was recognized in the creation of per- 
sonnel centers embracing both reception 
and separation activities. 30 

The adjustments that the east coast ports 
of embarkation would have to make when 
redeployment began were discussed at a 
conference held in New York on 1 1 April 
1945. The chief problem was to retain 
sufficient staging capacity in active status 
and sufficient station personnel to handle 
the returning troops. The ports, along with 
other Army installations, had been under 
heavy pressure for some time to reduce 
personnel, and now they were confronted 
with a substantial increase in work load. 
Up to the time of this conference the port 
commanders had been handicapped in 
their planning by lack of information re- 
garding the rate at which they would have 
to handle returning troops. In an off-the- 
record discussion, they were given such 
data as the Chief of Transportation pos- 
sessed, and the estimate of the projected 

load, although it was tentative, enabled 
them to more competently compute and 
defend their estimates of requirements for 
personnel and facilities. The principal per- 
sonnel needs were for clerks, typists, medi- 
cal technicians, hospital ward attendants, 
and cooks. The need for such labor was 
abnormally heavy because returning 
troops passed through the staging areas 
very rapidly and usually were not avail- 
able for kitchen, mess, or other work 
details. 31 

The planning that preceded the defeat 
of Germany did not neglect the Pacific 
coast, which was to carry the chief logisti- 
cal load for both the Army and the Navy 
in the final drive against Japan. Care was 
taken to prevent shipping facilities from 
being diverted to nonshipping uses, and to 
build up staging area capacity to the level 
that would be required. Measures were 
taken also to clear depots and holding and 
reconsignment points of outmoded or ex- 
cessive supplies in order that these instal- 
lations might serve current needs more 
adequately. But the principal limiting 
factor was the capacity of the transconti- 
nental railways. The Chief of Transporta- 
tion had devoted much effort to helping 
the western rail lines increase their rolling 

39 OCT Misc Ltr 133, 26 Oct 44, sub: Estab of Disp 
Centers; RR 1-6, 16 Feb 45; TG Pamphlet 39, 1 May 
45, Disp Center Org and Procedures; TC Pamphlet 
40, 15 May 45, Processing and Movement of Category 
II Units Returned from Overseas. 

30 Memo, Farr for Demob Ping Unit OCT, 24 Apr 

44, OCT HB Mvmts Div Farr Stay backs; Min of 
Port and Zone Comdrs Conf, Chicago, 6-9 July 44, 
Mtg of Port Comdrs, Opng Representatives, and Port 
Air Officers, 8 Jul 44, p. 27, OCT HB PE Gen. 

31 Min of East Coast Port Comdrs Conf Relative to 
V-E Day Activities, 1 1 Apr 45 ; Min of Conf of Repre- 
sentatives of OCT and East Coast PEs on Handling 
Returnees, at NYPE, 1 1 May 45; both in OCT HB 
TC Gen Redepl; Memo, CofT for PMG, 6 Apr 45, 
sub: German POWs; Memo, NYPE for CofT, 14 Apr 

45, sub: Post- V-E Day Requirements; last two in 
OCT HB Demob Ping Unit Gen Correspondence. 



stock and improve their right of ways, yet 
he recognized that Gulf and Atlantic ports 
would have to be used to some extent in 
supporting the forces in the Pacific. 32 

The processing of returning troops at 
the ports of debarkation was geared for 
speed. Early in the planning General Som- 
ervell pointed out that, whether they were 
to be separated from the service or to be 
sent on furloughs before being reassigned, 
soldiers would be impatient to reach their 
homes and any delay would increase the 
problems of morale and discipline. The 
Chief of Transportation therefore directed 
that there be no civic demonstrations at 
the ports; the brief receptions would be 
strictly military in character. 33 Under nor- 
mal circumstances the processing of Cate- 
gory II units at the staging areas was to be 
accomplished within twenty-four hours, 
and the processing of Category IV units 
within forty-eight hours. 34 During the 
processing period constant attention was 
to be given to morale. Soldiers were to be 
relieved of work details when possible. A 
special meal was to be served to them soon 
after their arrival at the staging areas. 
Since a large percentage of the men would 
be intent on making telephone contact 
with their homes as quickly as possible, 
special telephone facilities were to be in- 
stalled in the sections of the staging areas 
where the men would be housed, and 
portable telephones were to be provided 
in the hospitals for the use of bed patients. 
Arrangements were made for each man to 
have a thorough cleanup and to exchange 
any unpresentable articles of clothing for 
presentable ones. 35 The plan provided that 
while at the staging areas the troops would 
be briefed on the necessity of safeguarding 
military information and would be inter- 
rogated for information bearing on war 

The Ground Forces and the Air Forces 
considered it necessary to maintain con- 
tact with Category IV troops while they 
were at the disposition centers, and the 
readjustment regulations provided for 
such liaison activities on the part of the 
major commands. 38 While recognizing 
that there were functions that the liaison 
officers could perform during this period, 
the Chief of Transportation and the port 
commanders viewed the arrangement with 
misgivings. This was particularly true 
because of the breadth of the instruction 
the AGF had issued to its liaison detach- 
ments. It was feared that the liaison activi- 
ties would slow up the processing of troops 
and delay the onward movement. Great 
care had been taken to arrange for uni- 
form and accurate information to be given 
the soldiers on the transports and at the 
ports of debarkation, and it was antici- 
pated that the liaison detachments might 
introduce conflicting information. Such 
situations actually occurred during the 
initial stages of redeployment, but they 
were largely eliminated as the liaison 
groups gained a better knowledge of 
the responsibilities and methods of the 
disposition centers. 37 

According to War Department plan- 
ning, troops, after being processed at the 
port staging areas, were to be forwarded to 

12 Wardlow, op. cit., pp. |T79llT8o] 323-28J 
M Min of Conf of CGs of SvCs, Dallas, Texas, 19 
Feb 44, p. 4 1 , OCT HB TC Gen Redepl: Min of Conf 
at NYPE, 1 1 May 45, p. 63, 1 cited n. 31.1 

34 Processing is defined in RR 1-1, RR 1-6, and TC 
Pamphlets 39 and 40, cited notes 20 and 29. 

35 Min of Conf at NYPE, 11 May 45, pp. 37-46, 
I cited n. 31.| 

36 RR 1-1, Chart I. 

" OCT Misc Ltr 1 13, 5 Apr 45, sub: Liaison De- 
tachments at PEs, and atchd Memo, AGF for ASF, 
OCT HB TC Gen Redepl; Mi n of Conf at NYPE, 1 1 
May 45, pp. 7-16, bited n. 3"T1 Ltr, Farr to author, 2 
Jan 52, OCT HB Mvmts Div Gen. 



personnel centers located near their homes 
for further processing before being sepa- 
rated from the service, or released on fur- 
lough before reassignment. The plan 
provided that soldiers to be reassigned 
would return to the personnel centers at 
the end of their furloughs and be for- 
warded thence to assembly areas, where 
they would be prepared for further serv- 
ice. 38 The Chief of Transportation empha- 
sized the desirability of handling this 
traffic in such a way as to minimize the 
strain on the passenger services of the rail- 
roads. He wanted to keep the number of 
trips that the men would make as low as 
possible and to have them travel in organ- 
ized groups whenever practicable. Group 
travel in special cars or special trains, as 
distinguished from individual travel in 
regular trains, permitted more economical 
use of railway equipment, reduced the 
amount of ticketing and other paper work, 
and enabled the Army to exercise better 
control over the appearance and conduct 
of the troops. The Chief of Transportation 
had to combat numerous proposals that 
would have violated these canons, and it 
was not until early in 1945 that he was 
rewarded by the adoption of a procedure 
that conformed to his desires. 38 

An effort was also made to avoid adding 
unnecessarily to the burden on the freight 
services of the American railroads. Most 
units returning to the United States in 
Categories II and IV were to be accom- 
panied by only minimum essential equip- 
ment. 40 Heavy equipment that was still 
serviceable was to be shipped directly from 
Europe to the Pacific, and additional re- 
quirements were to be supplied from the 
United States. This would not only relieve 
the domestic carriers of the transportation 
of a large part of the impedimenta of 
redeployed units, but would also relieve 

U.S. ports of large transshipment opera- 
tions. Equipment shipped to the Pacific 
from Europe and the United States was 
not to be marked for specific units, but 
rather was to be shipped in bulk and 
assigned to the units after their arrival at 
the Pacific bases. 

To insure that the domestic transporta- 
tion provisions of the redeployment plan 
were understood by all concerned, the 
Chief of Transportation arranged for a 
conference to be held in Chicago on 1 and 
2 May. The first session was attended by 
transportation officers from the service 
commands, the transportation zones, the 
ports of embarkation, and the personnel 
centers, and the second session also in- 
cluded representatives of the carriers. In 
addition to clearing up any misconceptions 
regarding the plan of movement, these 
meetings were intended to give warning of 
the volume of traffic to be handled and the 
necessity for utmost economy in the use of 
railway equipment. 41 

It was anticipated that, despite the 
carefully devised arrangements for han- 
dling redeployment traffic, the railroads 
would encounter difficulties. Aside from 
the increase in the over-all load, the con- 
centration of debarkations from Europe at 

39 Remarks by Col Finlay in Min of SvC Conf, 
Camp Grant, 111., 28-30 Jun 45, pp. 199-206, OCT 
HB ASF; charts showing movements of Category II 
and Category IV troops, OCT HB TC Gen Redepl. 

3U For more detailed statement of the issues, see 
OCT HB Monograph 20, pp. 136-41; Memo, CofT 
for ACofS OPD, 20 Nov 44, OCT 370.5 Redpl of 
Units and Equip; Handwritten Memo, Wylie for 
Gross, 1 1 Jan 45, and atchd statement by Col Morris, 
Traf Contl Div OCT, sub: Redeployment, OCT HB 
TC Gen Redpl. 

40 RR 1-1, 15 Feb 45, par. 18; RR 1-2, 11 Apr 45, 
par. 16; Min of SvC Conf, Camp Grant, 111., 28-30 
Jun 45, p. 206. 

41 OCT Misc Ltr 130, 16 Apr 45; Notes on TC 
Conf, Chicago, 1-2 May 45, by Capt William H. 
Schmidt, Hist Off of Traf Contl Div; both in OCT 
HB TC Gen Redepl. 



a few east coast ports and the uneven rate 
of troop arrivals were expected to create 
periods of unusual strain. The outlook was 
discussed within the Army and by the 
other governmental agencies concerned 
with domestic transportation. 42 

In accordance with a suggestion of the 
Director of War Mobilization and Recon- 
version, the domestic transportation impli- 
cations of redeployment were considered 
early in the spring of 1 945 by a panel rep- 
resenting the Office of Defense Transpor- 
tation, the War Department, the Navy 
Department, the War Shipping Adminis- 
tration, the War Production Board, and 
the War Food Administration. 13 The ODT 
representative was the steering member of 
this panel. The statements submitted to 
the panel by the Director of ODT, Mr. 
Johnson, emphasized that, although the 
over-all transportation load would not be 
materially different from that handled in 
1944, the cumulative strain of three years 
of war, the insufficiency of the new equip- 
ment provided during these years, and the 
inadequacy of manpower would result in 
a shortage of transportation during the 
period from V-E Day to V-J Day. Unless 
the programs relating to new equipment 
and manpower were revised, Mr. Johnson 
foresaw the necessity of curtailing non- 
military traffic and possibly also establish- 
ing priorities on the movement of goods 
for war production. Although both pas- 
senger and freight traffic were considered, 
the chief concern appears to have centered 
about freight; yet the movement of troops 
became the more critical problem after 
redeployment began. 

In formulating plans for redeployment 
it was contemplated that the water lift 
from the European and Mediterranean 
theaters would be supplemented by airlift 

for troops. The Army Air Forces estimated 
that the normal airlift would not exceed 
1 2,000 per month, including 5,000 patients 
who were to have top priority. Shortly 
before V-E Day, however, the Chief of 
Staff directed the AAF to increase its 
transatlantic capacity so that 50,000 could 
be transported monthly, this figure to be 
attained not later than 1 July 1945. Meas- 
ures to add the necessary aircraft to the 
services of the Air Transport Command 
were undertaken at once. 44 It was foreseen 
also that a large number of AAF personnel 
would be returned from the ETO and the 
MTO in tactical aircraft. Although ini- 
tially it was expected that this AAF per- 
sonnel would be moved directly from the 
aerial ports of debarkation to the places 
where they were being sent for recupera- 
tion, before redeployment began it was 
arranged that all troops landed at eastern 
airports would be forwarded first to the 
nearest water port staging area to receive 
the customary processing and to be organ- 
ized into groups for the onward journey. 45 
This arrangement avoided the necessity of 
setting up machinery for processing troops 

™ 2 Ltr, ICcTto CofT, 30 Jun 44, OCT 511 Misc TC; 
Min of ASF Staff Gonf, 18 Jan 45, p. 10, OCT HB 
ASF; ODT press release, 31 Jan 45, OCT HB Topic 

43 OWMR Study V-E-9, sub: Transportation V-E 
Day to V-J Day, undated, but apparently issued in 
March or April 1945, OCT HB TC Gen Redepl. 

44 Memo, ACofS OPD for CG AAF, 17 Apr 45, 
sub: Return of Casual Mil Pers from Europe, OPD 
370.9, Sec. IX-A, Case 145; Memo, CG AAF for 
CofS, 22 Apr 45; Draft Memo, CofS USA for Fleet 
Admiral Ernest J. King, USN, 26 Apr 45, file copy 
indorsed "not used — discussed by Gen Giles with 
Adm Fitch"; Summary by G-4, 25 Apr 45; last three 
in G-4 580; Memo, ACofS OPD for Marshall, 3 May 
45, OPD 3 70.9, Sec. IX-A, Case 1 45. 

« Min of Conf at NYPE, 1 1 May 45, |ched n.TH 
Memo, ACofS OPD for CGs of AAF, ASF, etc., 12 
May 45, sub: Return of Certain Aircraft and Crews, 
AG 370.5 (10 May 45); Memo, TAG for CGs AAF, 
ASF, etc., 21 May 45, sub: Disp of Individuals Re- 
turned under Green Project, AG 200.4 (18 May 45). 



at the airports and furthered the Chief of 
Transportation's aim to move troops in 
groups of a carload or more to the greatest 
extent possible. 

The War Department plan for redeploy- 
ment included procedures to govern the 
disposition of troops and troop impedi- 
menta that on V-E Day were en route to 
theaters then becoming inactive and troops 
that were under movement orders to pro- 
ceed to those theaters. The intention, nat- 
urally, was to stop all outbound shipments 
except those which would be required in 
the theaters despite their inactive status. 
Provision was also made for the disposition 
of rotational and temporary duty troops 
whose further employment might be 
affected by the surrender of Germany. 46 

The Operations Division of the General 
Staff was charged with over-all responsi- 
bility for co-ordinating the actual rede- 
ployment of troops. The commanders of 
the AAF, the AGF, and the ASF each des- 
ignated a liaison officer to work with the 
Troop Control Section of OPD, and the 
Chief of Transportation did likewise. The 
specific responsibility of the OCT liaison 
officer was to have on hand at all times in- 
formation regarding the troops and the 
impedimenta that were en route and the 
location of all ships, as well as a plan for 
rescheduling the ships when redeployment 
began. Direct responsibility for controlling 
the disposition of troops and supplies was 
charged to the Movement Coordinating 
Center, which had been set up in the Mo- 
bilization Division of ASF headquarters. 47 

In order to test the adequacy of the 
procedures for redeployment and the read- 
iness of the several agencies to carry those 
procedures into effect, the War Depart- 
ment ordered a dry run on 25 March. The 
actions that each agency would be required 

to take on V-E Day were simulated. After 
studying the results of the practice opera- 
tion as it affected troop movements, the 
Chief of Transportation reported that he 
considered the prescribed procedures 
basically sound. There were, however, 
some details that required further atten- 
tion. General Gross recommended partic- 
ularly that each troop movement order 
issued thereafter be specifically marked to 
indicate whether the shipment would be 
stopped on V-E Day or continued. This 
arrangement already had been made in 
connection with cargo and had been found 
helpful. Accordingly the symbol " #" was 
placed on the order opposite the name of 
each individual who was to continue his 
oversea trip despite the intervention of 
V-E Day, and such troops were referred 
to as having been "crosshatched." One of 
the principal advantages anticipated from 
this system of marking was that it would 
enable the Transportation Corps, when 
practicable, to assign only shipments of the 
same classification to a troopship and thus 
simplify the disposition of shipments at sea 
on V-E Day. 48 

In the Office of the Chief of Transporta- 
tion the planning for redeployment, as 
well as for demobilization, was the direct 
responsibility of each director and division 

46 Memo, TAG for CGs AAF, AGF, and ASF, 3 
Apr 45, sub: Disp of Individuals in or En Route to 
U.S. for Rotation or TD, AG 210.31 (31 Mar 45). 

17 ASF Cir 1 12, 24 Apr 44, Sec. VI; ASF MCC Sp 
Memo 2, 7 Apr 45, sub: SOP for Sp Operation, OCT 
HB Demob Ping Unit Redepl Policies and Proce- 
dures; Memo, ACofS OPD for CGs ASF, AGF, and 
AAF, 9 Apr 45, sub: Procedure for Implementation 
of Redepl, OPD 370.9 (9 Apr 45), and Tabs A-G. 

* 8 Memos for Record by Col Farr and Maj Ouder- 
kirk, both dated 25 Mar 45, OCT HB Ouderkirk Stay- 
backs; Memo, Gross for Lutes, 29 Mar 45, OCT 387 
Trail Run of V-E Day Actions; Memo by Ouderkirk, 
14 May 45, par. 9, included in Mvmts Div Hist, Apr 
45, OCT HB Mvmts Div Gen. 



chief, so far as his particular activities were 
concerned. Such planning involved many 
individuals and units within the OCT, 
and all proposals had to be co-ordinated 
with the other War Department agencies 
involved. In accordance with instructions 
from the Commanding General, Army 
Service Forces, to all technical services, the 
Chief of Transportation established a De- 
mobilization Planning Unit in his office 
in November 1943. Headed by Col. 
Halsey Dunwoody (Ret.) and supervised 
by the OCT executive, Col. Luke W. 
Finlay, this unit served as a co-ordinating 
center for all Transportation Corps plans 
affecting redeployment, readjustment, and 
demobilization. 49 

Responsibility for the execution of 
approved plans on behalf of the Chief of 
Transportation also rested with the respec- 
tive directors and division chiefs, or with 
the commanders of Transportation Corps 
field installations acting under their super- 
vision. All actions to be taken by the 
Transportation Corps relating to redeploy- 
ment, readjustment, and demobilization 
were described in detail in a pamphlet that 
was issued first in May 1944 and revised 
from time to time. 50 Immediately after 
V-E Day, as a further aid to those con- 
cerned with the redeployment of troops, 
the Chief of Transportation issued a sched- 
ule briefly outlining the actions to be taken 
and indicating the other War Department 
agencies with which co-ordination was 
necessary, the element of the OCT having 
primary responsibility for each action, 
and the other elements of the OCT 
concerned. 31 

The careful preparations that were 
made for redeployment, with respect to 
both the formulation of procedures and 
the assignment of responsibilities, reflected 

the realization that V-E Day might come 
suddenly and would call for a drastic 
readjustment in troop and cargo move- 
ments. They also reflected the realization 
that the smoothness and speed with which 
redeployment was effected would have a 
considerable bearing on the morale of the 
troops and the rapidity with which the war 
against Japan could be brought to a 

Redeployment Between V-E Day 
and V-J Day 

When Germany surrendered on 8 May 
1945 there were approximately 8,300,000 
men and women in the U.S. Army in all 
parts of the world. About 5,400,000 of 
them were overseas, and some 3,500,000 
of those were in the European and Medi- 
terranean theaters. It was planned that by 
discharging about 2,000,000, moving a 
considerable number of troops from 
Europe to the Pacific, and continuing the 
draft about 6,968,000 men and women 
would be in service at the end of twelve 
months, a force considered necessary for 
the early defeat of Japan. The War De- 
partment explained to the nation that, 
although all physically fit soldiers who had 
not yet served overseas would be assigned 
to foreign service, it was still necessary for 
many of the troops that had fought in 
Europe to be redeployed to the Pacific. 
During the winter of 1 944-45 the demands 

49 Memo, CofT for Dir of Industrial Demob ASF, 
24 Nov 43, OCT 387 Demob Ping— Materiel; OCT 
Off Order 5-22, 25 Nov 43, sub: Demob Ping Unit; 
Memo, CofT for Dirs and Div Cs OCT, 10 Apr 45, 
sub: Responsibility for Preparing and Perfecting 
Redepl, Readj, and Demob Plans, OCT 387 Demob 

50 The first edition of TC Pamphlet 1 2 dealt only 
with materiel demobilization; actions relating to per- 
sonnel redeployment were added later. 

51 OCT Misc Ltr 153, 9 May 45, sub: WD Agencies 
and OCT Divs Concerned with Redepl and Readj. 



of the European theater had been so heavy 
that as V-E Day approached not a single 
combat division and few smaller tactical 
units remained in the United States. In 
order to meet the timetable of the war 
against Japan, about one third of the 
troops being redeployed to the Pacific 
would have to be shipped directly from 
Europe. The remaining two thirds could 
be redeployed through the United States 
and given furloughs en route. 52 

A few days after the German capitula- 
tion, Generals Somervell and Gross sum- 
marized the transportation aspects of 
redeployment as they then appeared. 
Assuming that an occupation force of 
about 400,000 would be left in Germany, 
some 3,100,000 soldiers would have to be 
transported from Europe during the ensu- 
ing ten to twelve months. It was estimated 
that approximately 845,000 would be 
moved during the first three months, 
1,185,000 during the next three months, 
and 807,000 during the third quarter of 
redeployment. The Air Transport Com- 
mand was expected to fly about 50,000 
per month from Europe to the United 
States and the remainder would be trans- 
ported by water. The long voyages to the 
Pacific, measuring up to 14,000 miles for 
troops proceeding directly from Europe to 
Manila, would necessitate an intensive 
use of all available shipping. The shipping 
problem was accentuated by the necessity 
of using many vessels for the "roll-up" of 
troops and supplies already in the Pacific 
areas and the inadequate port facilities in 
the Philippines and in other islands that 
were to serve as bases for the attack on 
Japan. They explained that, while the 
major task of redeployment from Europe 
to the Pacific was being performed, the 
Transportation Corps would also have to 
provide shipping to transport troops to 

and from numerous other oversea areas in 
order to carry out readjustments made 
necessary by the change in the strategic 
situation, and would have to transport 
troop replacements and supporting sup- 
plies to all forces stationed outside the 
United States. 53 

The effect of V-E Day on troopship 
movements in the Atlantic was moderate 
because the gradualness of the German 
collapse had permitted numerous adjust- 
ments to be made in advance. No large 
units had been shipped to Europe or the 
Mediterranean for some weeks, and the 
flow of replacement troops and combat 
equipment had been reduced to the mini- 
mum. 54 A week before the German surren- 
der steps were taken to check the return to 
the theaters of temporary duty and fur- 
lough personnel that were in the United 
States, except those designated for return 
regardless of military developments. 55 As 
a result, so few troops were outbound when 
V-E Day arrived that it was not necessary 
to turn back any troopships then en route 
to Europe; they were permitted to con- 
tinue to their destinations in order to be 
used immediately for redeployment. 56 

52 Public statement by the War Department sum- 
marizing testimony given in executive session of the 
House Committee on Military Affairs, issued 5 May 
1945, OCT HB TC Gen Redepl. 

" ASF press conf, 10 May 45, OCT HB TC Gen 
Redepl. The transportation of about 90,000 American 
RAMP's (Recovered Allied Military Personnel) from 
Europe to U.S. had begun in April, and the bulk of 
the movement was embarked in May and June. 

54 Memo, Ouderkirk for Farr, 27 Apr 45, sub: 
Troops for May Shipment, OCT HB Mvmts Div 
Ouderkirk Staybacks. 

■> 5 Msg, Marshall to Eisenhower, 1 May 45, CM- 
OUT 75415; Msg, Marshall to McNarney, 2 May 45, 
CM-OUT 76169. 

56 Memo, C of Mvmts Div for Hist Unit OCT, 20 
Jun 45, par. 15, OCT HB Mvmt Div Rpts. In view 
of the prospective reduction of supply requirements 
in the ETO and the MTO, more than sixty cargo 
ships were either turned back to U.S. ports while at 
sea or were returned from Europe without unloading. 



About a dozen ships that had sailed or 
were about to sail to the United States 
with prisoners of war were ordered to dis- 
charge their passengers at the ports of 
origin so that they might embark troops 
without delay. 57 

Redeployment got under way quickly. 
The first troopships sailing from Europe to 
the United States carried small units and 
patients. The first large unit to arrive in 
the United States was the 86th Infantry 
Division, which reached New York on 
1 7 June. By 7 July, within two months 
after V-E Day, two more complete infan- 
try divisions and parts of seven others were 
back in the United States being prepared 
for reshipment to the Pacific. 58 The first 
American troops to sail from Europe 
directly to the Pacific left Leghorn, Italy, 

on 8 June and arrived at Manila on 
15 July. The shipment included 4,275 
service troops, urgently needed at Manila, 
whose relatively limited organizational 
equipment made their early departure 
possible. 59 

Co-ordination of the movement of 
troops and equipment was the greatest 
problem in direct redeployment. Although 

57 Memo, CofT for Dir Plans and Opns ASF, 12 
Apr 45, sub: V-E Day Action; Memo, Col Griffin for 
C of Mvmts Div, 9 May 45, sub: PO W; Msg, Mvmts 
Div OCT to theaters, 1 1 May 45, WARX 81054, and 
appended note for record; all in OCT HB Mvmts Div 
Griffin Staybacks. 

58 WD press release for 8 July 1945 lists divisions 
scheduled for return to the United States by 3 1 De- 
cember, OCT HB TC Gen Redepl. 

59 Memo by Maj Ouderkirk, 5 Oct 45, included in 
Mvmts Div Hist for Jun 45, OCT HB Mvmts Div 



a number of fast freighters were assigned 
to lift the equipment, much of it had to 
move in slow freighters, and in some in- 
stances the departure of troops had to be 
delayed so that they would not arrive in 
the Pacific too long before impedimenta 
was available. The slowness in shipping 
equipment was due chiefly to the inade- 
quate facilities at European ports for proc- 
essing vehicles for the ocean voyage and to 
delays on the part of the Pacific commands 
in naming destination ports. 60 

Various measures were taken to enlarge 
troop-carrying capacity in order that the 
rate of redeployment might be increased. 
In anticipation of its need, the Army in 
March had urged the Maritime Commis- 
sion to expedite the delivery of troopships 

then under construction. 61 Work was 
started soon after V-E Day on a program 
to install temporary accommodations on 
about 200 Liberty cargo ships to give them 
a capacity of 550 each, and to convert 100 
Victory cargo ships to carry 1 ,500 troops 
each. fi2 Late in June the Chief of Staff 
directed the Transportation Corps to "ex- 
ploit every possible method of loading 
troopships to the maximum, including 

60 Memo, CofT for OPD, 16 May 45, sub: Pacific 
Destinations, OCT HB Farr Staybacks; Draft of Rad 
to CINCAFPAC Manila, 3 Jul 45, and atchd memo 
for record, OCT HB Ouderkirk Staybacks; Memo, 
CofMvmts Divfor Hist Unit OCT, 20Jun45, par. 
15, OCT HB Mvmts Div Rpts. 

sl Ltr, Somervell to Rear Adm Emory S. Land 
(Ret), 28 Mar 45, OCT 561.4 Troop Transports. 

B2 These Liberties had been equ ipped to carry up 
to 500 tr oops in 1943-44; see above, [CTi. 11, pp. 90-9 1,| 



THE QUEEN MARY ARRIVING AT NEW YORK with about 15,000 soldiers aboard. 

converted cargo ships, not in excess of the 
lowest acceptable standards." 63 It was 
anticipated that this would entail double 
bunking, subnormal ventilation and sani- 
tation, and the extensive use of dried and 
prepared foods. Arrangements were made 
with the Navy that whenever practicable 
naval personnel returning from Europe 
would be accommodated on combatant 
ships in order that the troopship space 
allotted to the Navy might be used for re- 
deploying soldiers. 64 The discontinuance 
of troopship convoys in the Atlantic on 
4 June enabled the Army to quicken the 
turnaround of vessels. 

The plans for achieving a speedy 
redeployment of troops included the con- 
tinued use of vessels under British control 

and the employment of such passenger 
ships as might be surrendered by Ger- 
many. The British made their three largest 
liners — the Queen Mary, the Queen Elizabeth, 
and the Aquitania — available for the trans- 
portation of American troops from Europe 
to the United States until the end of 1945. 
At the Potsdam Conference in July 1945, 
seven vessels that had been under German 
control were assigned to the United 
States. 85 

With the vessels thus obtained and with 
the aid of overloading wherever feasible, 

63 Memo, ACofS OPD for CG ASF, 28 Jun 45, 
OPD 370.5 PTO (25 Jun 45). 

6< Msg, CNO to COMNAVEU, 16 May 45, 
CM-IN 15801 (17 Ma y 45) 

65 Wardlow, op. cii., bp. 225-26.~| 



the Chief of Transportation calculated that 
by 1 October the troop shipping available 
to the U.S. armed forces would accommo- 
date more than 1,000,000 men. 66 He esti- 
mated that about 660,000 troops could be 
embarked in all parts of the world in 
August with the troop lift then available. 67 
Throughout redeployment the distribu- 
tion of shipping was governed by plans for 
the build-up of strength in the Pacific. Al- 
though in the beginning vessels aggregat- 
ing about 200,000 troop spaces were 
transferred from the Pacific to the Atlantic, 
it was intended that they should lift only 
one shipment from Europe and then return 
to the Pacific. 68 Early in July OPD re- 
quested that the troop lift in the Pacific be 
increased by 1 1 1,000 spaces. This request 
was met by the reassignment of seventy- 
four Victory ships that had been desig- 
nated for service in the Atlantic after con- 
version to troop carriers. By that time the 
flow of troops from Europe to the United 
States by water and air had so far ex- 
ceeded expectations that the transfer of 
this large number of vessels could be made 
without prejudicing the ability of the 
Transportation Corps to complete the re- 
moval of troops from Europe by 30 June 
1946." Arrangements with the Navy 
assured that all available space in com- 
batant vessels sailing from the United 
States to the Pacific would be used for 
troops. 70 

Because of the intensity with which the 
ships were used, close co-ordination was 
necessary between the War Department 
and the theater commanders, and this was 
particularly true of the European theater. 
Soon after V-E Day Maj. Gen. Frank S. 
Ross, Chief of Transportation, ETOUSA, 
and a group of officers came to Washing- 
ton to work out the details of redeploy- 
ment procedures. The Army Service 

Forces sent a group to Europe, including 
representatives of all technical services 
and some of the staff divisions, to assist the 
ETO and the MTO with their redeploy- 
ment problems. 71 The Chief of Transpor- 
tation kept the theater commanders in- 
formed regarding troopship schedules, 
including anticipated arrival and depar- 
ture dates at American and European 
ports. Each theater commander was re- 
quired to send a pre-embarkation message 
to the War Department about five days in 
advance of every homeward sailing giving 
a summary of the troops to be embarked, 
and to dispatch complete troop rosters by 
air mail on the same day. Within twenty- 
four hours after a sailing the theater com- 
mander notified the War Department by 
radio concerning any corrections in the 
data previously forwarded. ™ 

An observer from the New York Port of 
Embarkation who was detailed to the 
ETO during the greater part of the rede- 
ployment period reported that one of the 
chief difficulties in the theater was to 
reconcile the troop movement directives 
received from OPD with the troopship 
schedules and capacities provided by the 
Chief of Transportation, since the former 
consistently exceeded the latter notwith- 
standing the general practice of overload- 

Bli Estimate by Water Div OCT, 10 Jul 45, OCT 
HB TC Gen Redepl. 

67 Memo, CofT for Dir Plans and Opns ASF, 7 
Aug 45, sub: Available Troop Lift, OCT HB TC Gen 

" 8 Memo by Maj Russell H. Nies, 14 Jun 45, in 
Mvmts Div Histories, OCT HB Mvmts Div Gen. 

6S Memo, ACofS OPD for CG ASF, 7 Jul 45, sub: 
Increased Lift for Pacific, OPD 370.5 (7 Jul 45); 
Memo, Wylie for Stokes, 9 Jul 45, OCT HB TC Gen 
Redepl; Ltr, JCS to Adra Land, WSA, 28 Jul 45, 
OPD 561, Sec. III. 

70 Min of OCT Opns Mtg, 25 Jun 45, OCT HB Dir 
of Opns. 

71 Min of ASF Staff Mtg, 29 May 45, p. 16. 

72 Memo, Farr for Finlay, 24 Jul 45, OCT HB 
Griffin Staybacks. 



ing the vessels to the maximum. 73 This 
difficulty suggests that the co-ordination 
between OPD and the OCT regarding 
homeward movements was less complete 
than it had been during the period of 
heavy outbound shipments. 

The Army in its planning for redeploy- 
ment attached considerable importance 
to maintaining morale. The morale prob- 
lem had to be met first in the theaters 
while the troops were in a state of com- 
parative idleness awaiting transportation. 
The prime necessity was to keep the men 
occupied, and this was done as far as pos- 
sible by programs of athletics, recreation, 
and education. 74 Care was taken also to 
provide correct information on redeploy- 
ment objectives and procedures so that the 
troops would not build up expectations 
that could not be realized. Indoctrination 
was not always accomplished before sail- 
ing, and the transport commanders were 
accordingly directed to give the matter 
special attention during the voyage. 75 One 
result of misinformation, which had to be 
corrected, was that the troops believed 
they were on leave from the time they left 
the theater. Actually they were in duty 
status until their furloughs started at the 
reception stations. 

When the fighting ceased the general 
attitude of troops in Europe was that they 
would willingly endure any discomfort on 
the voyage homeward if that would 
hasten their arrival, yet many voiced com- 
plaints after reaching the United States. 
In a broad survey of soldier opinion on 
the manner in which redeployment was 
being accomplished, The Inspector Gen- 
eral heard many criticisms of conditions 
on the ships and the handling of the 
troops. 7fi The difference in attitude before 

and after the voyage is not difficult to 
understand. In Europe the soldier was 
filled with the desire to get home and 
nothing else seemed important. Once on 
the way, he was face to face with the ab- 
normal conditions that inevitably attend 
troop movements executed under pres- 
sure, and he found them not to his liking. 
It is probable that some men registered 
complaints when approached by press re- 
porters after debarkation because they 
believed that that was the only way to 
make the news columns. It is clear, on the 
other hand, that because of overcrowding 
the ocean voyage could scarcely have been 
a pleasant experience. Many of the com- 
plaints were from men who had returned 
on the temporarily converted Liberty 
ships. It would have been fortunate if the 
use of these ships could have been avoided, 
but they were needed to carry out the 
timetable of redeployment, and their use 
before and after V-J Day enabled 375,000 
soldiers to reach home earlier than would 
have been the case otherwise. 77 

Because of the increased number of 
ships to be debarked at U.S. Atlantic 

73 Memo, Lt Col Milton Wallach for CofT, 5 Sep 
45, OCT HB TC Gen Redcpl. 

"Such programs were outlined in RR 1-3 and 
RR 1-4. 

75 Memo, CofT for CG ETO, 23 Apr 45, sub: Ori- 
entation Before Embarkation at Oversea Ports, OCT 
HB Griffin Staybacks; Memo, TAG for All Theaters, 
27 May 45, AG 370.5 (24 May 45); Memo, CofT for 
CGs of PEs 29 May 45, sub: Info for Returned 
Troops, OCT HB Mvmts Div Troop Mvmts Inbound. 

76 Memo, TIG for CG ASF, 2B Jul 45, sub: Condi- 
tions Surrounding and Treatment Afforded American 
Troops Being Returned to U.S.; 2d Ind, CofT for CG 
ASF, 21 Aug 45, commenting on the various com- 
plaints; both in OCT 370.5 Returning Overseas Vet- 
erans. Cf. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe 
(Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 
Inc., 1949), pp. 420-22, on attitude of RAMP's. 

77 Col Marcus B. Stokes, Jr., Shipping in War, p. 
22, OCT HB Topic Logistics Gen. 



ports during redeployment, careful plan- 
ning was necessary for the most efficient 
use of port facilities and rail transporta- 
tion. Accurate information regarding the 
time of arrival for each vessel was needed, 
and this information was supplied by 
radio reports from the ships to the Navy's 
Eastern Sea Frontier (ESF). These reports 
were relayed to the Chief of Transporta- 
tion and the ports of embarkation. After 
V-E Day in order to assure the prompt 
distribution of such information, the Chief 
of Transportation arranged for the estab- 
lishment of a liaison staff at ESF head- 
quarters in New York, This staff, which 
began functioning on 22 May, consisted of 
an officer from the OCT and officers and 
enlisted men assigned by the port com- 
manders at Boston, New York, Hampton 
Roads, and Charleston. It maintained a 
twenty-four-hour watch and made one 
comprehensive report to the port com- 
manders each day in addition to such 
special reports as might be found 
necessary. 78 

With the arrival of V-E Day the adjust- 
ments that had been planned for the port 
staging areas were placed in effect. The 
procedures for the operation of disposition 
centers for disbanding Category IV units 
had been recently tested at the New York 
Port of Embarkation, and such centers 
were immediately placed in operation by 
the port commanders at Boston, Hamp- 
ton Roads, and New Orleans, 79 as well as at 
New York. Redeployment areas were 
established by these port commanders to 
handle Category II troops, which were 
being sent on to the Pacific. A section of 
the staging area at the Charleston Port of 
Embarkation, which handled a relatively 
small volume of troop traffic, was desig- 
nated to serve as a disposition center or 
redeployment area as conditions might re- 

quire. Since redeployment involved the 
return of many seasoned troops from the 
Pacific for demobilization, disposition 
centers were set up also at San Francisco, 
Seattle, and Prince Rupert. The basic 
purpose in establishing disposition centers 
and redeployment areas in the staging 
areas at the ports was to segregate in- 
bound troops completely f rom those en 
route to the theaters in order that the dif- 
ferent types of processing might be accom- 
plished without interference or delay. 

The plan to increase redeployment by 
utilizing aircraft resolved itself into two 
projects. The Green Project, which in- 
volved the assignment of additional trans- 
port planes to the Air Transport Com- 
mand for transatlantic service, continued 
until 10 September 1945 and transported 
about 166,000 troops from the ETO and 
the MTO to the United States. At its 
height the undertaking exceeded some- 
what the target of 50,000 troops per 
month, but in August the Army began to 
withdraw aircraft from it as part of a plan 
to augment the flow of troops from the 
United States to the western Pacific. The 
White Project involved the transportation 
of AAF crews and such other personnel as 
could be accommodated in bombers that 
were being returned from Europe to the 
zone of interior. About 85,000 men were 
returned in this manner. 80 

78 Msg, Mvmts Div OCT to CG BPE, et al.,\8 May 
45, OCT HB Mvmts Div Griffin Staybacks; Rpts of 
Returning Troops Br and Liaison Staff in Mvmts Div 
Hist for Jun 45, OCT HB Mvmts Div Gen. 

79 OCT Misc Ltr 159, 14 May 45; 1st Ind, NYPE 
for CofT, 18 Jun 45; both in OCT HB TC Gen 
Redepl. The latter document outlines readjustments 
made at NYPE for handling inbound troops. 

80 WD press release, 23 Jul 45, sub: 125,370 Troops 
Flown from Europe Since May 1; Memo, ACofS 
OPD for CofS USA, 4 Aug 45, sub: AAF Plan for 
Increasing Pacific Troop Lift, and other documents 
in OPD 320.2 TS, Sec. V; data provided by Hist Br, 
Int Div MATS, 19 Jun 51, OCT HB TC Gen Redepl. 



The number of troops arriving in the 
United States from the European and 
Mediterranean theaters duringjune was 
much greater than the number that had 
been forecast. Early in May the Chief of 
Transportation had estimated that June 
arrivals by water would approximate 
107,000; this estimate was later revised to 
154,000 and actual arrivals were slightly 
in excess of 236,000. The increase was ex- 
plained by the Movements Division on 
several grounds. The Navy's discontinu- 
ance of troopship convoys on 4 June per- 
mitted faster turnaround of the vessels. 
The resort to maximum overloading on 
all vessels ordered by the General Staff 
added substantially to the capacity of each 
ship. Several ships that had been sched- 
uled for direct sailings to the Pacific were 
used for one voyage in the North Atlantic. 
The Army Air Forces also exceeded ex- 
pectations by landing 56,000 troops in the 
United States under the Green and White 
Projects. 81 The total of approximately 
292,000 troops landed on the Atlantic sea- 
board by water and air in June was 
exceeded by about 49,000 in July, when 
341,00 were returned to the United States 
from the ETO and the MTO. 82 

The impact of the unexpectedly heavy 
influx of troops on the American railroads 
was severe. All of the returning soldiers, 
whether they were being redeployed or 
demobilized, had to make a number of 
trips in quick succession. The entire proc- 
ess was geared to speed, which gave no 
opportunity to regulate the flow and level 
off the peaks. Many of the troops arriving 
from Europe and the Mediterranean were 
destined for personnel centers in distant 
western states. The traffic from the eastern 
ports was largely one-way, so that a great 
deal of deadheading of railway equipment 

was involved. The demand for Pullman 
equipment, which had been heavy 
throughout the war, now became heavier, 
and the new troop sleepers that had been 
ordered after V-E Day were not yet 

The carriers were able to provide trans- 
portation for the heavy movements from 
the ports, but they frequently were unable 
to provide sleeping cars for soldiers who 
were entitled to them under Army regu- 
lations. Many complaints were received 
through Congressional and other chan- 
nels because returning veterans were re- 
quired to make long trips without proper 
sleeping facilities. General Gross had al- 
ready given the Office of Defense Trans- 
portation his opinion that a "firm denial 
of transportation means to the public" 
would be necessary and had suggested 
ways of making more sleeping cars avail- 
able for troops. 83 On 26 June the matter 
was again presented to the ODT in a joint 
letter from the Army, the Navy, the Coast 
Guard, and the Marine Corps. The 
armed forces expressed concern because 
of "the inadequate response" made thus 
far in the provision of passenger equip- 
ment for military personnel returning 
from overseas. They stated that between 
1 and 24 June, 143,000 Army troops had 
traveled an average distance of 1,251 
miles in coaches because sleepers were not 
provided; meanwhile regular overnight 
sleeping car services were being main- 
tained for the general public. While 
recognizing that the manner of meeting 
the military need must be left to the ODT 

81 Ltr, Johnson, Dir ODT, to USW, 18 Jul 45, OCT 
511; Memo, Finlay for Fair, 23 Jul 45, and reply 24 
Jul 45, OCT 387 Demob Ping. 

82 Ltr, SW to Sen William F. Knowland, 30 Oct 45, 
WDCSA 370.01, Sec. VIII, Cases 221-320. 

83 Ltr, Gross to Johnson, 30 May 45, OCT HB 
Gross ODT. 



and the carriers, the armed forces sug- 
gested that Pullman equipment be with- 
drawn from all regular routes of 400 miles 
or less and that reservations for sleeping 
car space be restricted to a period of five 
or six days in advance of the journey. 84 

Early in July the press carried the story 
of a movement of 500 officers and enlisted 
men from Camp Myles Standish in Mas- 
sachusetts to Camp Beale in California 
that had been made in day coaches. Dur- 
ing the trip a rumor spread among the 
troops to the effect that sleeping cars had 
been passed that were occupied by Ger- 
man prisoners of war. The investigation 
that followed disclosed that the cars as- 
signed to this movement were entirely 
unsuitable for so long a trip, but failed to 
locate any member of the party who 
claimed to have actually seen prisoners of 
war in sleeping cars. In his news confer- 
ence on 5 July, Under Secretary of War 
Robert P. Patterson was requested to give 
the facts concerning the matter. He stated 
that the report regarding prisoners of war 
was not true and that sleeping cars were 
never used for such traffic except in the 
few cases where prisoners were also hospi- 
tal patients. Referring to the assignment 
of day coaches, Mr. Patterson observed 
that the War Department some weeks 
previously had called the situation to the 
attention of the railroads and the Office of 
Defense Transportation and had urged 
that sleepers be provided for long trips, 
but that adequate relief had not yet been 
forthcoming. 85 

The public statement by the Under 
Secretary of War brought a vigorous re- 
sponse from the Director of Defense 
Transportation and also some counter- 
charges. Mr. Johnson denied that the cars 
used for the trip from Camp Myles Stand- 
ish to Camp Beale had been commuter 

cars as had been reported; they were all 
standard, steel day coaches. He objected 
to the implication in Mr. Patterson's state- 
ment that the entire blame for the neces- 
sity of carrying soldiers across the conti- 
nent in day coaches lay with the ODT 
and the carriers. Rather, he contended, 
the War Department had never consulted 
the ODT regarding any of its troop move- 
ments and had not kept the ODT in- 
formed regarding the fluctuations in the 
volume of its redeployment traffic. He re- 
ferred particularly to the great increase in 
troop arrivals from Europe and the Med- 
iterranean during June compared with 
earlier estimates, and the prospective in- 
crease in July arrivals. He stated: "If you 
expect transportation to be furnished ade- 
quately, the Office of Defense Transporta- 
tion and the Association of American 
Railroads must be informed of any such 
fluctuations." 86 

Mr. Patterson promptly answered these 
charges. He asserted that whether or not 
the cars assigned to the movement in 
question were, strictly speaking, com- 
muter types they were quite unsuitable for 
transcontinental travel. He did not be- 
lieve that lack of detailed information re- 
garding projected movements justified the 
failure to provide proper equipment. He 
cited various occasions on which the ODT 
and the railroads had been warned of the 
heavy demand that would be made on 

84 Ltr, Armed Forces to Johnson, 26 Jun 45, OCT 
HB Gross ODT. Concerning the Canadian Govern- 
ment's control of the use of rail equipment, see Ltr, 
Thomas C. Lockwood, Canadian Transport Con- 
troller, to Johnson, 15 Jun 45, and Ltr, Gross to Lock- 
wood, 21 Jun 45, both in OCT HB Gross ODT. 

85 Memo for the press, 5 Jul 45, ASF Hq Control 
Div 531.2. Reports and affidavits concerning this 
troop movement are in OCT HB Wylie Troop 

86 Ltr, Johnson to Patterson, 6 Jul 45, ASF Hq 
Control Div 531.2. 



them for equipment and the specific sug- 
gestions that had been made to increase 
the number of sleepers available for troops. 
He asserted that with regard to withdraw- 
ing additional sleepers from regular serv- 
ices the Army had observed a "hesitating 
attitude" on the part of the carriers and a 
"desire to escape a direct solution." The 
Under Secretary added that in order to 
meet the charge that the load had not 
been adequately defined for the ODT, the 
Chief of Transportation thereafter would 
furnish the ODT with all forecasts and 
any modifications that might become 
necessary. 87 

The Senate Special Committee Inves- 
tigating the National Defense Program 
took cognizance of the complaints regard- 
ing the transportation furnished to return- 
ing troops and the controversy over re- 
sponsibility for the situation. The commit- 
tee's hearings gave Mr. Johnson an 
opportunity to review his differences with 
the armed forces and the circumstances 
that he felt had intensified the problem. 
He reiterated his contention that the 
Army had failed to keep him properly in- 
formed regarding the volume of railway 
traffic to be expected as a result of rede- 
ployment, and that in the absence of such 
information adequate plans to meet the 
requirements for equipment could not be 
made. This, however, was only the imme- 
diate cause of the difficulty. Deeper causes 
lay in the failure throughout the war to 
make adequate provision for new railway 
equipment and for the protection of rail- 
way manpower. These failures were 
largely due to the heavy demands of the 
armed forces for military equipment and 
military manpower, and Mr. Johnson 
stressed the point, which he had made 
before, that it was inconsistent to make 
extraordinary efforts to destroy the ene- 

my's transportation system while at the 
same time allowing our own to 
deteriorate. 88 

Since General Gross was in Europe at 
the time of the hearing, the Chief of Trans- 
portation's position was presented to the 
committee by Maj. Gen. John M. Frank- 
lin, Acting Chief of Transportation, aided 
by Colonel Finlay, Executive. Their state- 
ments indicated that the Office of the 
Chief of Transportation, in accordance 
with arrangements in effect throughout 
the war, had furnished advance informa- 
tion regarding specific troop shipments to 
the Association of American Railroads, 
which then took steps to provide the re- 
quired equipment. The OCT had pro- 
vided the Director of Defense Transporta- 
tion with forecasts of the number of troops 
to arrive each month, but had not given 
him further details because such details 
had not been requested and he had no 
apparent need for them. The failure to 
keep Johnson currently informed regard- 
ing the increase of redeployment traffic 
over forecasts was explained on the ground 
that in the new undertaking to bring large 
numbers of troops back to the United 
States the excess of shipments over esti- 
mates became apparent only from day to 
day. In the testimony on behalf of the 
Chief of Transportation, the point was 

51 Ltrs, Patterson to Johnson, 9 Jul 45 and 26 Jul 45, 
both in OCT 5 1 1 Redepl; Memo, CofT for Dir Opns 
OCT, et al., 1 Aug 45, sub: Rpts of Troop Mvmts for 
ODT, OCT 511 1943-45. In a letter to the Under 
Secretary of War, Mr. Johnson denied that there had 
been any disposition to withhold equipment from the 
military services and attributed any such appearance 
to lack of adequate information with which to work. 
(Ltr, Div OCT to USW, 18 Jul 45, OCT 5 1 1 Redepl). 

B!t Press release by the committee, 19 Jul 45, ASF 
Hq Contl Div 032.3 Mead Committee; Senate Special 
Committee Investigating the National Defense Pro- 
gram, 79th Cong., 1st Sess., Hearings, July 23 and 24, 



stressed that the problem was not one of 
furnishing equipment for the movement 
of troops, since that was already being 
done, but one of providing sleeping cars 
for those who were required to make long 
trips. 89 

Reading the testimony and related cor- 
respondence, one cannot escape the con- 
clusion that neither party was without 
fault. If the Director of Defense Trans- 
portation, feeling that he was not being 
kept properly informed, had requested 
more up-to-date and detailed information, 
he undoubtedly would have received all 
the data that were available. He did not 
do this, however, until eight weeks after 
V-E Day, when the use of unsuitable 
equipment to transport troops was receiv- 
ing widespread publicity. On the other 
hand, it is difficult to understand why the 
Chief of Transportation, having repeatedly 
asserted that the Director of Defense 
Transportation was responsible for the 
adequacy of transportation to meet the 
Army's need, should not have voluntarily 
provided that official with any and all in- 
formation bearing on the extent of the 

Several weeks after the issue came into 
the open, Under Secretary Patterson in a 
letter to John W. Snyder, Director, Office 
of War Mobilization and Reconversion, 
stated that the failure to keep Mr. John- 
son fully informed had been due partly to 
inadvertence and partly to the lack of a 
clear understanding of the type of infor- 
mation desired. 90 This no doubt is a fair 
statement. More fundamental are the 
facts that Johnson and Gross did not agree 
regarding the extent to which civilian 
travel should be curtailed in favor of mili- 
tary traffic, and that while in many 
respects the two offices co-operated freely 
the relationship between them on matters 

involving this issue was not a sympathetic 

The contention of the Director of De- 
fense Transportation that throughout the 
war the requirements of the domestic 
carriers for new equipment and man- 
power had been neglected because of the 
heavy demands of the armed forces goes 
to the heart of the problem of war produc- 
tion and manpower utilization. The 
armed forces had been given certain stra- 
tegic objectives, and their requirements 
for soldiers, equipment, and supplies were 
based on their estimates of what was 
necessary to accomplish those objectives. 
They did not fail to recognize the impor- 
tance of the transportation industry in the 
military effort and made certain conces- 
sions to aid the carriers, but those conces- 
sions were not sufficient to meet the ODT 
point of view. In this connection two 
aspects of the military point of view must 
be understood. With regard to transporta- 
tion equipment, the Army contended that 
the military need could and should be met 
with the available facilities by restricting 
the civilian use of transportation for non- 
essential purposes. With regard to man- 
power, the Army believed that the 
problems of both industry and the mili- 
tary forces could have been greatly eased 
by a more judicious use of the nation's 
labor force, possibly under a national 
service law. 91 

As a result of the situation that devel- 
oped in June and early July, several orders 
were issued by the ODT to regulate the 

89 Hearings |cited n. 88| July 27, 1945. 

90 Ltr, Patterson to Snyder, 30 Jul 45, OCT HB 
Gross ODT. For a summary of the information given 
the ODT, see TWX Conf, Gen Franklin, et at., in 
Washington with Gen Gross in Berlin, 24 Jul 45, OCT 
HB TC Gen Redepl. 

91 For a fuller discussion of these issues, see Ward- 
low, op. ctt. jpp. 328^4T] 



use of railroad passenger cars. The car- 
riers were directed not to reserve, allocate, 
or sell reserve seats or sleeping car space 
more than 120 hours in advance of the 
scheduled departure of the train. 92 The 
measure was designed to check the prac- 
tice adopted by some individuals and 
business firms of tying up space for which 
they did not have a specific or legitimate 
need. The operation of sleeping cars on 
routes of 450 miles or less was prohibited. 
The ODT stated that as a result of this 
order about 900 sleeping cars were with- 
drawn from regular service and placed in 
a pool for use of the military forces. 93 All 
railway passenger coaches were placed in 
a pool to be employed under the direction 
of the ODT, and the chairman of the Car 
Service Division of the Association of 
American Railroads was designated the 
agent of the ODT to administer the 
order. 94 The armed forces were required, 
when making organized military move- 
ments, to place three persons in each sleep- 
ing car section and corresponding coach 
space. This requirement made uniform 
the practice the Army had followed 
throughout the war and brought to an 
end the Navy's insistence on placing only 
two men in a section. 95 The ODT had 
proposed that four soldiers be placed in a 
section, but the Army refused to concur 
contending that such crowding was "be- 
yond practicable limits," and pointing 
out the unfairness of requiring soldiers to 
travel under such conditions when civil- 
ians "vacation-bent" could have sole 
occupancy of berths. 96 

A number of measures were taken by 
the Army to relieve the acute transporta- 
tion situation. The War Department re- 
newed its instructions on reducing official 
military travel wherever practicable. 97 
Local transportation officers were directed 

to consolidate small groups whenever 
possible in order to conserve car space, 
and officers ordering such movements 
were directed to set dates between which 
the movement might be made, rather 
than specific dates. 98 Local transportation 
officers were again reminded that they 
must give the carriers as much advance 
notice of their equipment requirements as 
possible. 99 The passenger associations of 
the railroads were urged to select the 
shortest routes for troop movements so far 
as practicable. 100 The regulation provid- 
ing that troops were entitled to sleeping 
car accommodations for overnight trips 
was temporarily suspended, and transpor- 
tation officers were directed not to request 
sleeping cars for trips of less than forty- 
eight hours. 101 The Chief of Transporta- 
tion maintained a time record for each 
movement, indicating each step in the 
process of ordering equipment and mov- 
ing troops, in order to ascertain where un- 
necessary delays were encountered. 102 
A plan of "rotational sleeping," which 

™ ODT GO 52, 29 Tun 45. 

93 ODT GO 53, 7 Jul 45; ODT, Civilian War 
Transport, pp. 82, 83. 

94 ODT GO 55, 17 Jul 45. 

95 ODT GO 56, 20 Jul 45; Ltr, SW to SN, 5 Jul 45; 
Ltr, SN to SW, 13 Jul 45; last two in G-4 5 10, Vol. III. 

98 Ltr, Johnson to Patterson, 30 Jun 45; Ltr, Patter- 
son to Johnson, 4 Jul 45; both in ASF Control Div 

97 Memo, ACofS G-4 for CofS and SW, 3 Aug 45; 
Ltr, SW to Dir ODT, 6 Aug 45; Ltr, Acting SW to 
Dir ODT, 22 Aug 45; all in G-4 5 10, Vol. III. 

98 WDCir 199, 3 Jul 45. 

99 WD CTB 35, 10 Jul 45. 

100 Memos, CofT for the respective passenger asso- 
ciations, 18 Jul 45 and 26 Jul 45, OCT 387 Demob 
Ping— Redepl Traf. 

101 Msg, TAG for SvCs, 1 1 Jul 45; Memo, CofT for 
TAG, 9 Aug 45, sub: Sleeping Car Equip, AG 510 
(27 Aug 42)(2). 

11,2 Ltr, White to IMC, 25 Jun 45, OCT 531.7 Train 
Service; Memo, MTS for White, 7 Aug 45, OCT 080 



promised a substantial saving in sleeping 
car space, was tried by the Transportation 
Corps in July. The two trains that were 
operated experimentally on this basis 
were made up of both sleepers and 
coaches. The troops that had occupied the 
sleepers during half of the day were 
moved to the coaches, and the troops that 
had occupied the coaches were moved to 
the sleepers. Theoretically the plan 
seemed good, but in practice it presented 
difficulties and accordingly was not em- 
ployed further. Aside from the inevitable 
disorder involved in changing cars, the 
transfer of troops from air-conditioned 
sleepers to non-air-conditioned coaches in 
midsummer created more dissension than 
if the men had been obliged to travel in 
coaches all the way. 103 

The Director of Defense Transportation 
requested the Army to ascertain whether 
greater use could be made of airlift and 
motorbuses in the effort to lighten the 
load on the railroads. The Army Air 
Forces determined that it would be prac- 
ticable to release from seventy-five to 
eighty transport planes and about 260 
airline pilots then in the service, and to 
place the equipment and personnel at the 
disposal of the transcontinental com- 
mercial airlines for their use in transport- 
ing military passengers. This supple- 
mentary airlift was expected to provide 
transcontinental passage for about 25,000 
troops per month. The project was ap- 
proved by the War Department late in 
July, but the commercial airlines did not 
begin moving troops until after the Japa- 
nese surrender. 104 The use of buses in lieu 
of rail transportation was limited by the 
agreement between the armed forces and 
the railroads to cases where the highway 
carriers could provide more satisfactory 
service than the rail lines, but local trans- 

portation officers, particularly those at 
personnel centers, were encouraged to 
keep in mind the possibility of using the 
highway carriers when they offered supe- 
rior service. 105 

The Director of Defense Transportation 
also recommended that the War Depart- 
ment endeavor to arrange a more even 
flow of troops into the Atlantic coast ports. 
He pointed out that during a ten-day 
period in mid-July approximately 30,000 
troops had arrived on each of two peak 
days, whereas the daily average for the 
period was less than 12,000. The War De- 
partment recognized that such heavy con- 
centrations placed an unusual burden on 
the railroads, but it stated that in order to 
carry out the plan to return troops from 
Europe as quickly as possible and to be in 
a position to transfer ships to the Pacific 
for a rapid build-up against Japan, it had 
to make maximum use of the vessels. An 
attempt to smooth out the inbound flow 
of troops would involve retarding some of 
the ships, which the War Department did 
not consider feasible. 106 It was evident also 
that the measures taken had somewhat 
improved the military sleeping car situa- 
tion, for General Williamson was able to 
report on 28 July that during the preced- 
ing ten days the carriers had provided 
sleeping cars for all movements of forty or 

103 WD press release, 20 Jul 45; Interv with Maj 
Farley, 24 May 51 ; both in OCT HB TC Gen Redepl. 
Major Farley represented the Traffic Control Divi- 
sion, OCT, as an observer on one of these trips. 

104 See below Jpp~?UH-U9j Memo, Maj William H. 
Henderson, Jr., for ACofS G-4, 19 Jul 45, sub: Inves- 
tigation of Air Lift; Memo, CG AAF for CofS USA, 
27 Jul 45; Ltr, USW to Dir ODT, 31 Jul 45; all in G-4 
510, Vol. III. 

105 Memo, CofT for ACofS G-4, 31 Jul 45, sub: Use 
of Commercial Bus Lines; WD CTB 43, 23 Aug 45; 
both in AG 537 (31 Jul 45). 

,0G Ltr, Dir ODT to USW, 24 Jul 45; Ltr, USW to 
Dir ODT, 31 Jul 45; both in G-4 510, Vol. III. 



more troops when the travel time was 
forty-eight hours or more. 107 

Because of the several categories of 
troops that were in a sense competing for 
the available sleeping car space, the 
Traffic Control Division in the Office of 
the Chief of Transportation had employed 
an informal plan of priority throughout 
the war. In August 1945 this plan was 
elaborated and adopted by all of the 
armed forces. 108 The joint preference 
agreement was applicable to all carload 
traffic moving under the Joint Military 
Passenger Agreement and to individuals 
engaging sleeping car space through the 
government reservation bureaus. First 
preference was given to hospital and litter 
patients regardless of the distance to be 
traveled. Second preference was given to 
troops moving to staging areas or replace- 
ment depots for shipment overseas. Third 
preference was applicable to redeployed 
troops moving from ports of debarkation 
to personnel centers and from personnel 
centers to assembly stations before embar- 
kation for Pacific destinations, and also to 
certain civilian technicians moving under 
military orders. The remaining traffic was 
covered by preferences four and five. 
Within a preference category, priority was 
given to the movement involving the 
greatest number of nights of travel. This 
joint preference agreement did not go as 
far as the Chief of Transportation had 
gone in directing that movements of less 
than forty-eight hours should use coaches; 
it provided instead that movements of 450 
miles or less would not use sleepers unless 
the cars otherwise would have to be dead- 
headed, and that movements involving 
only one night en route would use coaches 
if they were available. Probably the im- 
provement in the sleeping car situation 
that occurred in July and the prospect of 

early delivery of the 1,200 special troop 
sleepers on order influenced the decision. 

The heavy and steady flow of troops 
from port staging areas to personnel cen- 
ters gave rise to some new problems in the 
operation of troop trains. The number of 
troop train commanders had to be greatly 
increased, and many inexperienced offi- 
cers had to be trained to perform the ex- 
acting duties; arrangements were made so 
that they could shuttle back and forth 
with as little delay as possible. In addition 
to the train commander, the commander 
of a staging area assigned a group super- 
visor for the troops destined for a single 
personnel center, a car leader for each car, 
and the required number of kitchen and 
mess personnel. The Chief of Transporta- 
tion issued a special pamphlet setting 
forth in detail the responsibilities of the 
staging area commanders and the troop 
train complements. 109 Pending the de- 
livery of the new kitchen cars ordered in 
May, arrangements were made with the 
railroads for the assignment of additional 
baggage cars to be converted to kitchen 
cars. In July there were 500 baggage cars 
in this pool. 110 

Although traffic calculations were nec- 
essarily tentative and were completely 
upset by the early surrender of Japan, the 
forecasts prepared in the Office of the 
Chief of Transportation after two months 

107 Ltr, Williamson to ODT, 28 Jul 45, OCT HB 
Gross ODT. 

108 Ltr, C of Traf Contl Div to AAR, 7 Aug 45, 
OCT 531.7 Preference Plan; WD CTB 40, 13 Aug 45, 
sub: Preference Plan for Ordering and Furnishing 
Pullman Equip, OCT HB Traf Contl Div Pass. 

109 TC Cir 100-10, revised 13 Jun 45, sub: Mvmts 
to Pers Centers; ASF Cir 253, 3 Jul 45, Sec. I; TC Cir 
1 1 -2, 1 1 Aug 45 ; TC Pamphlet 45, 1 1 Aug 45, sub: 
TC Manual for St Area and Troop Train Comdrs. 

"° OCT HB Monograph 22, p. 124. 



of experience with redeployment are of 
interest. They give an indication of the 
rates at which troop withdrawals from 
inactive theaters and the build-up of 
strength in the Pacific were to have been 
accomplished, and of the effect of this re- 
deployment on troop travel within the 
United States. According to these forecasts 
the heaviest shipments of troops from in- 
active theaters would be in July, the 
heaviest shipments of troops from the 
United States to the Pacific would be in 
November, and the arrivals of units in the 
Pacific would reach a crest in December. 
(Charts j^ The volume of Army rail traffic 
in organized movements (forty or more 
troops), which had attained a monthly 
peak of 1,001,000 passengers in April 1943 
and then had declined to slightly over 
430,000 just before the German surrender 
when the larger part of the Army was 
overseas, was expected to reach almost 
1,500,000 in some months in late 1945 
and early 1946. 111 

Of the total force of somewhat more 
than 400,000 troops that was to have been 
redeployed directly from the European 
and Mediterranean theaters to the Pacific, 
approximately 155,000 had been em- 
barked when the end of hostilities dis- 
rupted the redeployment plan. Of this 
number, 117,000 were from the ETO 
and most of them had been embarked at 
Marseille. The 38,000 shipped from the 
MTO had been embarked at Naples and 
Leghorn. 112 

Repatriation After the Surrender of Japan 

Although the Japanese surrender on 14 
August 1945 came much earlier than had 
been expected, plans for making the nec- 
essary adjustments in oversea troop move- 

ments had been worked out, and they 
were placed in effect at once. 113 The 
records of the Chief of Transportation's 
Movements Division, showing the position 
of all ships and the troop units en route or 
scheduled for movement, facilitated this 
action. Eighteen troopships that were en 
route between Europe and the Panama 
Canal destined for the Pacific were di- 
verted to U.S. east coast ports. Twenty 
troopships at or en route to Marseille and 
Naples to embark troops for the Pacific 
were ordered to embark troops for dis- 
charge in the United States. Twenty-four 
freighters carrying organizational equip- 
ment from Europe to the Pacific were di- 
verted to U.S. east coast ports. The troop 
movements scheduled to leave U.S. west 
coast ports for the Pacific during August 
were not greatly affected by the cessation 
of hostilities. High-point men were 
screened out, but otherwise units and re- 
placements sailed as planned, and the 
number of Army personnel embarked for 
the Pacific in August (about 158,000) far 
exceeded that of any previous month. 
These troops, and the smaller numbers 
shipped in subsequent months, were in- 
tended to relieve from occupational duty 
troops that had already seen long service 
overseas. 114 

111 Chart prepared in Transport Economics Br, 
Traf Gontl Div, OCT, 4 Jul 45, OCT HB Gen 

112 ASF MPR, Oct 45, Sec. 3, p. 16. For a discus- 
sion of assembly areas and port staging areas for 
troops being shipped from Europe as well as the work 
of the Redeployment Coordinating Group, which 
functioned in Europe, see Sparrow, op. cit., pp. 

113 Memo, TAG for CGs AAF, AGF, et al.,14 Aug 
45, sub: Procedure for Disposition of Units, etc., Upon 
Surrender of Japan, AG 370.01 (13 Aug 45). 

' IJ Mvmts Div Hists for Aug, Sep, Oct 45, OCT HB 
Mvmts Div Gen. Movements of cargo ships carrying 
maintenance supplies were mo re extensively affected, 
as will be explained in Ch. V, below. 

Chart 5 — Forecast or Troop Redeployment, Prepared by the Chief of Transpor- 
tation, as of 11 July 1945 
















* Since this diagram is intended to indicate monthly additions to strength in the Pacific, it does not include replacements. 
Source: Charts A, C, and D, prepared by the Planning Division, OCT; copies in OCT HB TC General, Redeployment. 



When Japan surrendered the Army had 
about 4,500,000 troops overseas. The size 
of the occupational forces had not been 
fixed, but it was calculated that more than 
3,500,000 of these troops would have to be 
repatriated as soon as possible. The Army 
realized that there would be an insistent 
popular demand for speedy demobiliza- 
tion and that regardless of the rate of 
repatriation it could not be fast enough to 
satisfy the desires of the soldiers and their 
relatives. Nevertheless, the military au- 
thorities assured the nation that all re- 
sources would be utilized to bring the 
troops home and return them to civilian 
life. General Somervell and several mem- 
bers of his staff held a press conference on 
16 August, in which many aspects of the 
demobilization plans were explained. On 
that occasion General Gross stated that in 
the months to come the movement of sol- 
diers to the United States would far ex- 
ceed anything achieved during redeploy- 
ment. He asserted that every available 
ship would be used, and at the same time 
emphasized that the load on the Ameri- 
can railroads would be exceedingly heavy. 
"All of us at home," he said, "must be 
prepared to accept inconveniences in 
order that the reunion of families in peace 
may be accomplished as quickly as possi- 
ble." 115 He meant, of course, that regular 
railway services would have to be further 
reduced in order to provide adequate and 
suitable transportation for troops. 

During August General Gross discussed 
at length with the Association of Ameri- 
can Railroads the heavy burden that 
would fall on the carriers when repatria- 
tion from both Europe and the Pacific got 
under way. AAR officials were confident 
that by giving preference to military over 
civilian traffic the railroads could trans- 

port inland all of the soldiers that the 
Transportation Corps could land at the 
ports. In order to shorten the rail haul as 
much as possible, they suggested that 
troops returning from Europe be re- 
grouped at the oversea staging areas and 
embarked on ships that would land them 
at the U.S. ports nearest the separation 
centers for which they were destined, and 
also that troops returning from the Pa- 
cific be assembled at Hawaii and similarly 
regrouped for discharge at the ports near- 
est their separation centers. General Gross, 
while recognizing the merit of these sug- 
gestions from the standpoint of the rail- 
roads, saw only limited possibility of put- 
ting them into effect because the proposed 
arrangements would interfere with the 
operation of the point system — which was 
being closely followed in determining the 
order in which soldiers would be repatri- 
ated — and because they would involve an 
"extravagant use of shipping capacity." 116 
The discussions between General Gross 
and the AAR did not bring about a com- 
plete meeting of the minds regarding the 
extent of military rail traffic during repa- 
triation or the manner in which it would 
be accommodated. General Gross wanted 
a specific statement from the carriers as to 
the number of troops they would be able 
to handle. The response of the Association 
of American Railroads was that the only 
limiting factor would be the extent to 
which civilian travel could be reduced, a 
response that left the point unsettled. The 
AAR wanted a firm estimate of the num- 
ber of troops to be landed at U.S. ports 
during succeeding months. General Gross 
could only state that, while he had pro- 

,,fl ASF press conf, 16 Aug 45, OCT HB TC Gen 

116 Ltr, Buford to Gross, 13 Aug 45, and reply, 17 
Aug 45, both in OCT 387 Demob Ping. 



vided and would continue to provide the 
best possible estimates, the figures neces- 
sarily would be tentative for a period be- 
cause of the suddenness with which the 
war had ended and the necessity of com- 
pletely revising troop movement and 
shipping plans. 117 

The rate of repatriation from Europe 
depended chiefly on the amount of ship- 
ping that could be assigned, but the rate 
from the western Pacific was affected by a 
number of factors. General MacArthur's 
troops were scattered among many small 
and widely separated bases, and it was 
uncertain how quickly they could be 
transported to assembly areas for embar- 
kation on transpacific vessels. 118 The num- 
ber of troops required for the occupation 
of Japan was difficult to determine. Be- 
cause of these imponderables, MacArthur 
could not at once give a firm estimate of 
monthly shipments, and his early figures 
were considerably below those that he 
submitted later. 119 As a result, the removal 
of troops from Europe, which had been 
under way for three months and was 
already well organized, made much better 
progress during the early weeks of the re- 
patriation period than did the return of 
troops from the western Pacific. By late 
September, however, the situation in Gen- 
eral MacArthur's command had become 
clearer and the deployment of shipping to 
meet the requirements was well under 
way. 120 

The early negotiations on rail transpor- 
tation for repatriated troops again brought 
out the differing attitudes of the Army and 
the Director of Defense Transportation, 
and these differences wercsometimes ex- 
pressed with more candor than diplo- 
macy. 121 The root issue was still the divi- 
sion of railroad equipment, especially 
sleeping cars, between military and civil- 

ian traffic. Although the joint preference 
agreement made by the armed forces in 
August allowed greater latitude, General 
Gross had also agreed with the ODT that 
Army personnel would use coaches for 
trips of less than forty-eight hours unless 
sleepers were available that otherwise 
would have to be deadheaded, and he in- 
sisted that the latter agreement was being 
honored. The ODT, on the other hand, 
presented data to show that it was not 
being uniformly carried out, and con- 
tended that the failure of the carriers in 
some instances to provide sleepers for trips 
of more than forty-eight hours was due to 
their employment on shorter Army 
hauls. 12 ~ 

Late in August the Army learned that 
the railroads and the Pullman Company 
desired to withdraw about 400 sleeping 
cars from the military pool so that they 
could be used in regular overnight serv- 
ices. The Army notified both the Director 
of Defense Transportation and the Direc- 
tor of War Mobilization and Reconversion 

117 Ltr, Gross to Pelley, 2 1 Aug 45, and reply, 25 
Aug 45, both in OCT 511, 1943-1945; Ltr, Gross to 
Pelley, 3 1 Aug 45, OCT 080 AAR. 

118 Eleven such assembly areas were established to 
relieve transpacific troopships of the necessity of call- 
ing at many small ports, thereby saving ship time. See 
WD press release, 18 Oct 45, OCT HB TC Gen 
Demob Trans. 

us WD press release, 10 Sep 45, sub: Target Dates 
for Return of Troops, OCT HB TC Gen Demob; 
Memo, CofT for Dir Plans and Opns ASF, 2 Nov 45, 
pars. 5 and 6, OCT HB Ping Div Mead Com. 

l2U Rads between WD and CINCAFPAC, CM- 
OUT 65131, 15 Sep 45; CM-IN 23948, 29 Sep 45; 
CM-OUT 72042, 1 Oct 45. 

121 Sec last paragraphs of Ltrs, Gross to Johnson, 14 
Aug 45, and Johnson to Gross, 17 Aug 45; both in 
OCT HB Gross ODT. 

122 Ltr, Gross to Johnson, 29 Aug 45; Ltr, Johnson 
to Gross, 29 Aug 45; Ltr, Gross to Johnson, 4 Sep 45; 
Ltrs, Johnson to Gross and USW, 6 Sep 45; Ltr, USW 
to Johnson, 10 Sep 45; Ltrs, Williamson to Johnson 
and the Pullman Co., 19 Sep 45; all in OCT HB 
Gross ODT. 



of its opposition, with the result that the 
cars were not withdrawn. 123 The Army's 
view was that during repatriation more, 
rather than fewer, sleeping cars should be 
assigned to the military pool, which served 
all of the armed services. At about this 
time the Director of Defense Transporta- 
tion took steps to abolish the government 
reservation bureaus, which the railroads 
had maintained primarily for the benefit 
of military personnel traveling as individ- 
uals, but reconsidered the plan when the 
armed forces made a joint protest. 124 

The Chief of Transportation evidently 
believed that there was nothing to be 
gained by entering into detailed negotia- 
tions with the ODT regarding rail equip- 
ment. Late in August Mr. Johnson ap- 
pointed a committee representing his own 
office, the Association of American Rail- 
roads, the Navy, the Marine Corps, and 
the Army to study military requirements 
and make recommendations to him. Col. 
Joshua R. Messersmith, deputy chief of 
the Traffic Control Division, was the ap- 
pointee for the Army. When the time came 
to approve the committee's final report, 
Messersmith did not attend the meeting. 
In explaining his absence he informed Mr. 
Johnson, undoubtedly with the approval 
of the Chief of Transportation, that since 
the War Department had no control over 
the distribution of equipment it would 
neither accept nor reject any estimates 
submitted by the AAR. He stated that the 
War Department provided the railroads 
and the Pullman Company with estimates 
of its requirements and considered the 
carriers responsible for meeting such re- 
quirements "with dispatch and the same 
degree of efficiency and comfort as is 
accorded the public." 125 

In his response Johnson made it clear 
that whereas the Chief of Transportation 

had requested the assignment of 200 addi- 
tional sleeping cars to the military pool, 
he (Johnson) was of the opinion that mili- 
tary traffic already was using a dispropor- 
tionate share of the equipment. In support 
of his contention, Johnson stated that on 
12 September about 72 percent of these 
sleeping cars were in military service, 
leaving only 28 percent to serve the rest of 
the nation. General Gross then presented 
the following analysis from data available 
to him: 

Sleeping Cars Number Percent 

Total 8,034 100.0 

Gars in regular service 2,544 3 1 .7 

Gars in military service 5,090 63.3 

Standard and tourist sleepers in 

troop service 3,705 46.1 

Special troop sleepers in troop 

service 1,237 15.4 

Standard sleepers in military 

sleeping car lines 148 1.8 

Gars under repair 400 5.0 

Johnson took no exception to these figures, 
but he stated that in his calculation of 
cars in military service he had included 
an estimate of the number of cars repre- 
sented by the military personnel that used 
the regular sleeper services. 126 

While the Chief of Transportation fore- 
saw trouble in providing adequate rail 
transportation after repatriation from the 
Pacific got into full swing, the immediate 

123 Ltrs, US W to Dir ODT and Dir OWMR, 31 
Aug 45; Ltr, Dir OWMR to USW, 5 Sep 45; Ltr, Dir 
ODT to USW, 6 Sep 45; all in OCT HB Gross ODT; 
Ltr, Buford to Gross, 18 Sep 45, OCT 531.2 Troop 

See above, Ch. I, p. 65. 

125 Ltr, Messersmith to Johnson, 4 Sep 45; Ltr, 
Johnson to Messersmith, 7 Sep 45; Ltr, Johnson to 
USW, 7 Sep 45; all in OCT HB Gross ODT. 

120 Ltr, Johnson to Gross, 12 Sep 45; Ltr, Gross to 
Johnson, 18 Sep 45; Ltr, Johnson to Gross, 21 Sep 45; 
all in OCT HB Gross ODT. 



problem confronting him was the build-up 
of shipping capacity. He tackled the job 
aggressively, in co-operation with the War 
Shipping Administration and the Navy, 
and the results were gratifying. 

On the day Japan surrendered there 
were 282 American-controlled vessels in 
U.S. Army troop service, including the 
small number of Liberties and Victories 
on which conversion work had been com- 
pleted, and 5 vessels under British control. 
The American pool was distributed 1 08 to 
transatlantic and 174 to transpacific 
routes. 127 

The repatriation fleet was rapidly in- 
creased. The program of Liberty ship and 
Victory ship conversion was pressed. The 
cessation of hostilities meant that naval 
assault transports and naval combatant 
ships could be used for repatriation to a 
greater extent. 128 As soon as they could be 
released from patient evacuation, hospital 
ships were employed as passenger vessels. 
Passenger space on freighters returning to 
the United States was used for troops 
whenever practicable. For a time tankers 
also were employed in this way, but the 
practice had to be discontinued because 
tankers were frequently diverted en route 
and the troops were then landed at ports 
where there were no facilities for staging 
and processing them. 129 

In addition to increasing the repatri- 
ation fleet, other steps were taken to facili- 
tate the return of troops. The staging 
capacity at west coast ports, which had 
been limited during the war, was enlarged. 
Overloading was continued to the extent 
weather permitted. ia<) A liaison office, 
similar to the one established earlier on 
the east coast, was set up in the headquar- 
ters of the Navy's Western Sea Frontier to 
keep the respective Army port command- 
ers informed regarding prospective ar- 

rivals of troopships. 131 A Ship Regulating 
Branch was organized in the Movements 
Division to control the flow of troops into 
the several ports in accordance with per- 
centages established by the railroads. 132 
Representatives of the Chief of Transpor- 
tation and the Pacific coast Army port 
commanders met at San Francisco early 
in September for a full discussion of all 
matters pertaining to repatriation. 133 

The task of simultaneously repatriating 
Army and Navy personnel from many 
scattered Pacific bases gave rise to new 
policies regarding the use of transportation 
facilities. Instead of the wartime policy of 
considering Army and Navy troopships in 
a single pool and using them jointly, the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff in September decided 
that all troop-carrying vessels in the Pa- 
cific would be divided into two blocks, one 
for the Army and one for the Navy. The 
Joint Military Transportation Committee 
was assigned the task of allocating specific 
vessels to the respective blocks in accord- 
ance with the estimated requirements. 
The vessels in each block were to be oper- 
ated primarily to meet the needs of the 
service to which they were allocated, but 
they could be used jointly when this would 
enable a larger number of passengers to 

127 Memo, Ping, Int, and Mvmts Div OCT for Hist 
Unit, 16 Oct 46, sub: Hist of Mvmts Contl Div to 15 
Aug 46, OCT HB Mvmts Div Rpts. 

128 Memo, Farr for Wylie, 15 Oct 45, OCT HB 
Farr Staybacks. 

129 Rad, WD to Theater Comdrs, 3 Oct 45, CM- 
OUT 10998. 

110 Overloading of Liberties in the Atlantic was 
stopped in October, but overloading of Victories con- 
tinued through November. 

131 Hist of Returning Troop Br, 31 Oct 45, in 
Mvmts Div Hist for Sep 45, OCT HB Mvmts Div 

1,2 Hist of Ship Reg Br, 1 1 Dec 45, in Mvmts Div 
Hist for Nov 45, OCT HB Mvmts Div Gen. 

133 Summary of West Coast Port Comdrs Conf on 
Returning Troop Mvmts, 6-7 Sep 45, OCT HB Wylie 
Troop Mvmts. 



be embarked. The use of domestic trans- 
portation also was to be apportioned be- 
tween the Army and the Navy according 
to the number of troops to be moved 
inland. 134 

Because of growing public criticism of 
the rate at which troops were being re- 
turned, the Chief of Transportation de- 
cided in mid-November to issue a detailed 
statement to show what had been accom- 
plished and what was in prospect. 135 He 
summarized the shipping then assigned to 
the repatriation of military personnel as 

follows: 136 

Type Number 

Total 871 

U.S.-controlled troopships 253 

Converted Liberties 210 

Converted Victories 87 

Hospital ships 31 

Naval assault transports 178 

Naval combatant ships Ill 

British troopships 1 

Of these 871 vessels with spaces for 
1,370,479 troops, 400 vessels with 578,520 
spaces were employed in transatlantic 
services and 47 1 with 79 1 ,959 spaces were 
employed in the Pacific. All of the naval 
assault vessels and most of the combatant 
vessels were in the Pacific. At that time 
only about 45 percent of the troop space 
on these ships was available to the Army, 
but more was expected to become avail- 
able as the Navy's repatriation program 
progressed. The Chief of Transportation 
further explained that only one British 
vessel, the Queen Mary, remained in U.S. 
troop service because the British them- 
selves had a large repatriation task, and 
that only two of the vessels that had been 
surrendered by Germany were being used 
because the others could not have been 
rehabilitated in time to be of great value 
in repatriation. 

The complaints regarding the rate of 
repatriation, the majority of which con- 
cerned the Pacific, alleged negligence on 
the part of the Army in not using more 
cargo ships to transport returning troops. 
The Army carefully explained its position 
in public statements and in private corre- 
spondence. It pointed out that the ship- 
ping facilities at the west coast ports were 
operating at full capacity and that voyage 
repairs required by ships returning from 
the Pacific already were overtaxing the 
yards that would have to make any fur- 
ther cargo ship conversions. Of the Lib- 
erty ships selected for conversion early in 
the summer, the last had not been ready 
for service until October, and the last con- 
verted Victory ship would not be ready to 
sail until the end of November. Under 
these circumstances and in view of the fact 
that the peak of the repatriation move- 
ment would be reached in December, fur- 
ther cargo ship conversions were consid- 
ered uneconomical. The Army stressed 
the inadvisability of placing troops on 
freighters that were not properly equipped 
and explained why the hasty conversions 
that had been made at Manila for the 
return of troops to the United States had 
been limited to a small number of 
vessels. 137 

134 JCS Policy Memo 27, 21 Sep 45. 

>*s WD press release, 20 Nov 45, OCT HB TC Gen 
Demob Trans. 

130 Conflicting statements have been made regard- 
ing the number of Liberties converted in 1945. 
Charles, Troopships of World War II, pp. 356-60, lists 
201 actually converted in 1945 to carry 550 troops 
each. The figure of 210 may include some Liberties 
that had been permanently converted. Ninety -seven 
Victories were converted, but 10 were assigned to the 
British in exchange for th e Queen Mary; see Wardlow, 
op. at., pp j 226 27||30 L.| 

13? \YD press release, 20 Nov 45, cited n. 135; letters 
in answer to complaints are filed in OCT 370.5 Re- 
turn of Troops from Overseas; messages regarding 
conversions at Manila are in OCT 564 Cargo Vessels; 
James R. Masterson, U.S. Army Transportation in 



The Army further pointed out that in 
November, despite the wide dispersal of 
troops and the long voyages in the Pacific, 
it was repatriating more than twice as 
many troops as had been returned from 
Europe during the peak month following 
World War I. It also stated that, since the 
removal of troops from the European and 
Mediterranean theaters was so far ad- 
vanced, beginning in December many 
fast troopships would be transferred from 
the Atlantic to the Pacific so that the rate 
of repatriation from General MacArthur's 
command would be accelerated. 

These explanations did not convince 
persons who were willing to accept at face 
value the statements of soldiers that they 
were eager to travel under any conditions 
so long as they were allowed to sail, or 
were intrigued by the slogan "get the boys 
home by Christmas." Such persons could 
view the matter from a purely personal or 
sentimental standpoint, since they would 
not be responsible for the hardships im- 
posed, nor affected by the complaints that 
would be made by many soldiers after 
arrival in the United States. On Novem- 
ber 27 maritime and longshore unions, 
which were opposed to the policy of lay- 
ing up American cargo ships or turning 
them over to foreign countries, cham- 
pioned the cause of the soldiers who were 
still overseas and threatened one-day 
strikes to emphasize their position. 138 On 
the same day resolutions were introduced 
in the House of Representatives to require 
the War Department to submit a forecast 

the Southwest Pacific Area, 1941-47, pp. 473-75, 
OCT HB Monographs. Numerous cargo ships were 
hastily converted in the western Pacific to transport 
soldiers from outlying bases to assembly ports, where 
they were to be embarked for the long transpacific 
voyage, and to repatriate Japanese soldiers to their 

of troops that would be eligible for dis- 
charge within ninety days, and to require 
the Army, the Navy, and the War Ship- 
ping Administration to give a full account- 
ing of ships used and not used for repatri- 
ation purposes. 139 The War Department 
was quick to provide such information as 
it possessed, although the resolutions were 
not formally adopted. 

Air transport was used for the repatri- 
ation of troops after V-J Day, but not to 
the extent that it had been employed dur- 
ing redeployment from Europe and the 
Mediterranean. Two projects were set up 
for repatriating troops by air. In the Rain- 
bow Project transport planes were used 
from the middle of September to the mid- 
dle of November for the return of troops 
from North Africa, South America, and 
the Caribbean. This project had a total 
lift during the two months of about 1 2 ,2 00. 
In the Sunset Project bombers returning 
from the Pacific transported as many 
troops as they could accommodate. 140 
After the transport planes in the western 
Pacific had played their role in the deliv- 
ery of occupation forces to Japan, they 
also brought troops back to the zone of 

The heavy influx of troops at Pacific 
coast ports during November and Decem- 
ber and the unevenness of the flow meant 

las Transcript of radio address by Joseph Curran, 
Pres, National Maritime Union, over Mutual Broad- 
casting System, 27 Nov 45, OCT HB Gen Demob 
Trans; The Mew York Times, November 29, 1945, 
"Ship Unions to Quit Over Troop Delays." 

139 H. Res. 420, 421, and 422, November 27, 1945; 
Ltr, SW to Rep Andrew J. May, Ghm House Com on 
Military Affairs, 1 1 Dec 45, Legislative and Liaison 
Division WDSS, file on H. Res. 421. 

140 Information furnished by the Hist Br, Int Div 
MATS, 19 Jun 51, OCT HB Gen Redepl. 



that there were times when the railroads 
had more traffic than they could move 
promptly. The situation was more acute 
on the Pacific coast than on the Atlantic 
seaboard because the facilities of the west- 
ern rail lines were not as great and because 
a larger percentage of the troops arriving 
at western ports had long rail hauls ahead 
of them. 141 During this period the problem 
of providing sleeping cars for the troops 
entitled to them gave way to the problem 
of moving the traffic by any means. On 
23 November the Chief of Transportation 
indicated that numerous troops had been 
held at the ports for four days, and a few 
for more than seven days, rather than be- 
ing cleared in the specified forty-eight 
hours. 142 Thereafter the situation became 
progressively worse, and on 25 December 
the number of troops held at Pacific ports 
beyond forty-eight hours because of lack 
of transportation reached a peak of 99,000. 
The port staging areas and improvised 
housing facilities were not able to absorb 
the backlog so that as many as 40,000 men 
had been kept on the ships overnight 
rather than being debarked immediately 
upon arrival. 143 This situation existed de- 
spite the fact that additional rail equip- 
ment was assigned to the western lines and 
that cars were deadheaded back to the 
ports as quickly as they discharged their 
loads at the inland personnel centers. 

Early in November the armed forces 
had made a final joint appeal to the Direc- 
tor of Defense Transportation for the 
assignment of additional sleepers to troop 
movements from the Pacific coast. They 
had pointed out that the number of repa- 
triated veterans who were required to 
travel from coast to coast in coaches was 
increasing daily. They had stated that, 
while a further curtailment of regular 

sleeper service was not a desirable action, 
the heavy influx of troops was the direct 
result of the public demand for speedy de- 
mobilization and therefore no criticism 
could properly be made if the public were 
deprived of sleeping cars on some of the 
shorter routes in order to give veterans 
proper accommodations on long journeys. 
The armed forces accordingly had recom- 
mended that sleeping cars be withheld 
from regular sleeping car services of less 
than 500 miles — instead of 450 miles as 
provided for in the existing regulation — 
while the military need was so great.' 44 
This recommendation was not placed in 
effect, but about 1,000 additional day 
coaches were assigned to troop service. 

The effect of the peak repatriation 
movement on the carriers is reflected in 
two statements issued by the Association 
of American Railroads. In mid-December 
the AAR reported that the carriers' total 
equipment embraced 10,217 all-steel 
coaches suitable for long distance service, 
and 8,200 sleeping cars of which 1,400 
were government-owned troop sleepers. 
More than one third of the coaches and 
about four fifths of the sleepers were being 
used in troop trains, and in addition large 
numbers of military personnel were using 
the regular trains. 145 A few days later the 
AAR announced that during the two 

111 In his public statement of 20 November, cited 
n. 135, the Chief of Transportation stated that in 
October 82 percent of the troops arriving at west 
coast ports were entitled to sleeping cars as compared 
with 34.5 percent debarking on the east coast. 

142 Memo, CofT for Legislative and Liaison Div 
WDSS, sub: Delays of Troop Mvmts, OCT 511. 

141 ASF MPR, Dec 45, Sec. 3, p. 3; Hist of Return- 
ing Troops Br, 1 6 Jan 45, in Mvmts Div Hist for Dec 
45, OCT HB Mvmts Div Gen. 

144 Ltr, Armed Forces to Dir ODT, 8 Nov 45, OCT 
5 1 Veterans. 

145 Ltr, AAR to Sen Joseph C. O'Mahoney, 17 Dec 
45, OCT 5 10 Veterans. 



Chart 6 — Passengers Debarked Monthly by the Army at U.S. Ports From Oversea 

Commands: 1943-1946* 









/ •" ' 
/■■' ' 
Ji 1 


// ' 

ft GULF i 


\ \ 

^i»rt<-r7T iii" 


: V — — pof 

rrr i T 

V\ \ V 

COAST v '"- >— / O — 

<TS V- 

1 1 1 1 I i I 1 i I T- 








1943 1944 1945 1946 

* Passengers include' all Army troops debarked from ships under Army, Navy, and British control, plus naval, Al'ied 
military, civilian personnel, and prisoners of war debarked from ships under Army control. The percentage relationship 
that Army troops bore to the total was 47.4 in 1943, 61 .1 in 1944, 95.6 in 1945, and 94.4 in 1946. 

Source: ASF Statistical Review, World War II, pp. 126-27, through August 1945; later months from data compiled 
for statistical volume af this series, from Recapitulation of Passengers Debarked and predecessor reports from the ports of 
embarkation to the Chief of Transportation. 

weeks that ended on 19 December the 
railroads had moved a daily average of 
thirty-six special troop trains from the Pa- 
cific coast, carrying slightly more than 
19,000 servicemen; including those accom- 
modated on regular trains, the daily move- 
ment of servicemen had been about 
25,000. The AAR further stated that on 
the basis of estimates furnished by the 
Army and the Navy earlier in the fall it 
had planned to handle about 14,000 serv- 
icemen per day at the peak. 146 The in- 
creased military load, it emphasized, was 
being handled against a background of 
heavy pre-Christmas civilian travel. 

During the month of December 1945, 
834,470 passengers arrived at U.S. ports 
under Army auspices. 147 More than 99 

percent of these passengers were Army 
troops, the remainder being naval person- 
nel, military personnel of Allied nations, 
and civilians. West coast ports received 
387,130, while Atlantic and Gulf ports de- 
barked 447,340. A comparison of arrivals 
during this peak month with preceding 
and succeeding months may be made by 
referring to Chart 6. Passengers debarking 
during the years 1945 and 1946 were dis- 
tributed among the ports as shown in 
IChart 7 l and passengers debarking during 

" a AAR press release, 21 Dec 45, OCT HB Gen 
Demob Trans. 

147 This figure may be compared with 343,786 de- 
barked by the Army during the month of June 1919, 
which was the peak of the repatriation movement 
after World War I; see Annual Report of the Chief of 
Transportation Service, 1919, p. 31. 



Chart 7 — Passengers Debarked by the Army at the Respective U.S. Ports: 

1945-1946 ■ 


SAN FRANCISCO 1,120,766 

LOS ANGELES 431,957 

NEW ORLEANS 59,842 if 
(.9 %) 


HAMPTON ROADS 684, 270 ji/ 

PORTLAND 76,822 If 

SEATTLE 642,539 \j 

(.1 %) 

BOSTON 679, 196 & 

NEW YORK 2,628,919 £/ 
(41 2%) 

* Concerning passengers included, see note to | chart 6~| 
" Boston was inactive during 1946. 

New York includes a small number of passengers debarked at trie Philadelphia cargo port. 
4 Hampton Roads includes a smoll number of passengers debarked at the Boltimore cargo port. 

* New Orleans includes a small number of passengers debarked at Mobile and Miami. 

' Seattle includes a small number of passengers debarked at Portland during early 1945 and late 1946. 

Source: Data compiled for statistical volume of this series from monthly report. Recapitulation of Passengers Debarked, 
from the ports of embarkation to Chief of Transportation. 

the month of December 1945 were 
distributed as follows: 148 

Port Rissengers 

Boston 74,185 

New York 261,778 

Hampton Roads 106,835 

New Orleans 4,542 

Los Angeles 119,256 

San Francisco 146,295 

Portland 22,298 

Seattle 99,281 

Since the Army had stressed the need 
for additional sleeping cars to handle the 
heavy influx of troops, its experience in 
securing sleeping cars in December 1945 is 
of interest. During that month the Army 
requested the assignment of 10,846 sleepers 
for troop movements of forty-eight hours 
or longer, including domestic as well as 
repatriation traffic. The sleepers actually 
assigned to these movements fell 2,824 
short of the requests. As a result, 91,359 

soldiers who were entitled to sleeping-car 
space under the forty-eight-hour rule had 
to be moved in coaches. 149 

The heavy repatriation traffic created 
problems for the Army other than those of 
clearing troops from the ports. The large 
number of troop trains in operation, com- 
bined with the rapid rate of demobiliza- 

148 Monthly Rpt, PEs to OCT, Recap of Passengers 
Debarked; data compiled for statistical volume of this 
series, now in preparation. Figures for New York and 
Hampton Roads include small numbers debarked 
from freighters at the cargo ports of Philadelphia and 
Baltimore, respectively. Boston debarkations were less 
in December than in previous months and troop 
movements through Boston were discontinued there- 
after. Small numbers of troops had been debarked at 
Charleston, South Carolina, and Prince Rupert, 
British Columbia, earlier. 

149 Statistical Tabulation, Utilization of Sleeping 
Cars, October 1945-March 1946, based on records 
of Pass Br, Traf Contl Div, OCT HB TC Gen Demob 



tion, made it difficult for the Chief of 
Transportation to hold sufficient person- 
nel to provide these trains with competent 
commanders and crews. In order to speed 
up the return of these men to the ports 
after they had delivered troops to the per- 
sonnel centers, special arrangements were 
made for the immediate audit of their 
accounts and for their return to the ports 
by Army or commercial aircraft when 
necessary. 150 Immediately after the Japa- 
nese surrender the Army announced its 
intention to increase the number of sepa- 
ration centers (components of the person- 
nel centers) from twenty-two to twenty- 
seven, but this was not done immediately. 
As a result, some of the separation centers 
became congested during September and 
it was necessary to divert troop trains to 
other centers thus increasing mileage and 
delaying trains. To meet this situation 152 
temporary separation facilities — 44 of 
them for AAF troops and the remainder 
for AGF and ASF troops — were opened 
on 24 September, and later 4 additional 
separation centers were established. By 
November this problem had been over- 
come despite the unexpectedly heavy rate 
of demobilization. 131 

Beginning early in the repatriation 
period the railways received appreciable 
though not extensive aid from air trans- 
port. In July 1945 arrangements were 
made for the use of military aircraft to 
move repatriated soldiers east and west 
across the continent. 152 The aircraft were 
assigned to commercial airlines, which 
operated them under contract. These so- 
called TRANSCON services, which be- 
gan 27 August, were from the Newark Air 
Base in New Jersey, Mines Field and Mc- 
Clellan Field in California, and Paine 
Field in Washington. The Chief of Trans- 

portation established special TRANSCON 
Centers at staging areas of the ports of 
embarkation at New York, Los Angeles, 
San Francisco, and Seattle to receive, 
process, and dispatch troops being for- 
warded by air. 153 The TRANSCON proj- 
ect, which was set up to move about 25,000 
troops per month, continued through the 
following March and lifted a total of 
174,501 soldiers. The peak month was 
January 1946, when 35,305 troops were 
transported. 154 

After port congestion on the Pacific 
coast became acute, the Director of 
Defense Transportation took steps to 
augment the eastbound airlift. On 20 
November 1945, the ODT announced ar- 
rangements under which the commercial 
airlines would make at least 70 percent 
of the space on their regularly scheduled 
flights from Seattle, San Francisco, Los 
Angeles, and San Diego to the eastern sea- 
board available for repatriated military 
personnel. This undertaking was known 
as COM-AIR. 155 In his effort to expand 
the project beyond the facilities of the air- 
lines, Mr. Johnson appealed to the Army; 
he found it ready to provide additional 

150 ASF Cir 253, 3 Jul 45; ASF Cir 375, 4 Oct 45. 
lsl ASF press conf, 16 Aug 45, statement by Maj 

Gen Joseph N. Dalton; WD press release, 13 Sep 45, 
sub: Temporary Separation Points and Bases; Ltr, SW 
to Rep James C. Auchincloss, 26 Oct 45, WDCSA 
370.01, Sec. VIII; Hist of Returning Troops Br, 6 Dec 
45, in Mvmts Div Hist for Oct 45, OCT HB Mvmts 
Div Gen. 

152 Memo, Mobilization Div ASF for TAG, 1 1 Aug 
45, sub: Mvmts of Pers under TRANSCON Project, 
and atchd Memo for Record, AGO 370.5 (1 1 Aug 

1 5 3 TC Cir 101 . 3; 24. Aug 45, sub: Org and Opn of 
TRANSCON Centers. 

151 Statistical Tabulation, Passengers Moved by Air 
Between East and West Coasts, based on monthly 
troop records of Transport Economics Br, Traf Contl 
Div, OCT HB Topic Air Transport Gen. 

155 WD CTB 53, 14 Dec 45, sub: Mvmt of Traf 
Under COM-AIR Project. 



aircraft but unable to assign personnel "in 
view of the necessity of releasing Army air 
and ground crews in accordance with the 
general demobilization plans." 156 COM- 
AIR movements began on 3 December 
1945 and continued into February 1946, 
during which period a total of 23,156 
Army and Navy personnel were trans- 
ported. 157 

The Director of Defense Transportation 
felt that neither the Army nor the com- 
mercial airlines had given adequate atten- 
tion to the development of transcontinen- 
tal airlift to relieve the rail lines, and he 
said so early in December in a letter to 
which he gave wide circulation. He had 
argued for a total lift of 100,000 per 
month, but this figure was never ap- 
proached. In the peak month (January 
1946) TRANSCON and COM-AIR to- 
gether transported only 46,000 troops, and 
during the entire period of operation the 
combined lift was less than 200,000. Nat- 
urally neither the Army nor the Air Trans- 
port Association of America could accept 
a charge of non-co-operation; each had its 
peculiar problems and explanations. In 
the light of the rail situation in December, 
Mr. Johnson's chagrin at the limited re- 
sults of the air projects is understandable. 
Evidently the pressure for a large airlift 
was not applied early enough. General 
discussion of the use of aircraft in moving 
repatriated troops within the United 
States began in the spring of 1945. It 
seems probable that if there had been a 
realization at that time, or even in August, 
that in a single month more than 800,000 
returning troops would be landed at U.S. 
ports with serious congestion on the Pa- 
cific coast, arrangements for a heavier 
airlift could have been made. 158 

Since Mr. Johnson had stated frankly 
that his letter regarding lack of co-opera- 

tion in his effort to increase the airlift was 
written primarily for the record, General 
Wylie replied on behalf of the Chief of 
Transportation in like manner, presenting 
the broad aspects of the problem from the 
Army angle. He pointed out that the 
armed forces had been under heavy pres- 
sure from the public, the press, and the 
Congress to speed up the return of troops 
from overseas. Excellent results in provid- 
ing water transportation had been accom- 
plished with the aid of the War Shipping 
Administration, The Chief of Transporta- 
tion repeatedly had inquired of the rail- 
roads and the ODT whether they wanted 
the inflow of troops retarded, but they had 
expressed no such desire. The armed 
forces then had requested the assignment 
of additional sleeping cars to the western 
lines because the need for sleepers was 
especially great; this request had not been 
granted, although additional day coaches 
had been provided. The armed forces had 
diverted ships from one port to another in 
accordance with the desires of the rail- 
roads, but that action had not greatly alle- 
viated the difficulty. A proposal that troops 
from the Pacific destined for personnel 
centers in the eastern states be routed 
through the Panama Canal to Atlantic 
ports had been considered, but the pro- 
posal had not been found acceptable be- 
cause it would have involved a wasteful 

156 Memo, CofT for Mobilization Div ASF, 26 Nov 
45; Memo, CofT for CG ASF, 5 Dec 45, sub: COM- 
AIR Lift; Ltr, SW to ODT, 5 Dec 45; all in OCT 
584.1 COM-AIR Project. 

157 Statistical Tabulation, Pas sengers Move d by Air 
Between East and West Coasts, [cited n. 154.| 

l5S Ltr, Johnson to ATC, OCT, BuPers, and Air 
Transport Assn of America, 6 Dec 45, OCT HB 
Wylie Troop Mvmt; Ltr, Air Transport Assn of 
America to Johnson, 10 Dec 45; Ltr, Johnson to 
ATAA, 26 Dec 45; last two in OCT HB Gross ODT; 
Ltr, Johnson to CofT, 26 Dec 45, OCT 584.1 COM- 
AIR Project. 



use of shipping and slower repatriation. 
General Wylie reiterated the contention of 
the armed forces that more sleepers and 
coaches should be withdrawn from regu- 
lar service to enable the western railroads 
to handle returning veterans properly, 
notwithstanding the fact that this would 
mean a further cut in civilian travel dur- 
ing the critical weeks of repatriation. 159 

Replying to General Wylie's presenta- 
tion, Johnson stated that the carriers had 
not requested that the inflow of troops be 
reduced and would not do so; he implied 
that better regulation of the flow, not less 
traffic, should be the Army's contribution. 
He contested Wylie's statement that the 
ODT and the railroads had been properly 
informed regarding the peak loads to be 
handled during recent weeks. He asserted 
that the assignment of additional cars to 
the western lines would not solve the 
problem of port congestion; the line-haul 
capacity of the seven single-tracked rail- 
roads that served the Pacific coast had 
become the bottleneck. 160 

During December the Senate Special 
Committee Investigating the National 
Defense program again took cognizance 
of the transportation situation, both ocean 
and rail. Its inquiry into shipping was 
directed particularly to the large number 
of cargo vessels then idle, some of them 
laid up at U.S. ports and some of them 
held in the western Pacific under load 
since V-J Day. Consideration of troop 
transportation was incidental. The com- 
mittee apparently was satisfied with the 
statement of Capt. Granville Conway, 
Deputy War Shipping Administrator, that 
no American troopships had been diverted 
from military service to resume commer- 
cial operations and that shipping was not 
the bottleneck in demobilizing troops. 161 

The committee made a much more 

thorough inquiry into the railway situ- 
ation as it affected repatriation and de- 
mobilization. Despite the earlier com- 
plaints and countercomplaints, the 
testimony given at the hearing on 21 
December displayed no sharp differences 
of opinion between the armed forces and 
the representatives of the carriers. Mr. 
Johnson, Director of Defense Transporta- 
tion, Mr. Charles H. Buford of the 
Association of American Railroads, Rear 
Adm. James F. Holloway of the Navy, 
and General Wylie, speaking for the 
Army Chief of Transportation, seemed in 
agreement that all had been done that 
could have been done to meet the extraor- 
dinary situation. It was recognized that 
peaks and valleys in the rate of arrivals at 
west coast ports were inevitable since 
"shipping can't be scheduled like trains." 
The distribution of troop arrivals among 
the ports had been carefully made in ac- 
cordance with the desires of the railroads. 
The assignment of more cars from the 
eastern and southern lines to the Pacific 
coast would not have substantially helped 
the situation since the western lines al- 
ready were handling the maximum traffic 
that their track facilities and manpower 
would allow. The airlift had been helpful 
but had not moved the numbers that had 
been hoped for. The relief afforded by the 
use of buses had been limited because 
only a few of the bus operators had facil- 
ities and personnel to handle transcon- 
tinental traffic. There was some question 
whether greater use might not have been 
made of the Canadian railway lines, but 
it was recognized that they also had been 

159 Ltr, Wylie to Johnson, 12 Dec 45, OCT HB 
Wylie Troop Mvmts. 

160 Ltr, Johnson to Wylie, 19 Dec +5, OCT HB 
Wylie Troop Mvmts. 

16 ' Hearings fiied n. 88,| Pt. 32, December 12, 1945, 
pp. 16227-29. 



heavily burdened in handling Canadian 
traffic. 162 

When these hearings were held the 
peak of repatriation traffic had been 
reached and relief was in sight. In other 
words, the situation was expected to im- 
prove rather than get worse. This fact no 
doubt accounts for the equanimity with 
which the situation was discussed by rep- 
resentatives of the armed forces, the ODT, 
and the transportation industry, in con- 
trast with their earlier disputations. 

Some of the facts brought out in the 
hearings are of interest. Because of the 
bunching of traffic, the number of troops 
landed on the Pacific coast on some peak 
days in December (47,000-48,000) had 
been nearly three times the average daily 
arrivals forecast in September (17,000). 
Although over a period in early Decem- 
ber the railroads had moved a daily aver- 
age of about 25,000 troops of all services 
out of Pacific coast ports, it was not to be 
expected that they could sustain this rate 
during winter weather when more cars 
would be in the shops and more delays 
would be encountered on the right of 
ways. A check of all trains from the Pacific 
coast for the period 5-7 December dis- 
closed that military personnel had utilized 
89. 1 percent of the total sleeping car space 
and 90.4 percent of all coach seats. On 
20 December, the day before the repre- 
sentatives of the armed forces and the car- 
riers testified at the hearing, the Army had 
about 70,000 returning troops in its west 
coast staging areas and approximately 
40,000 troops on ships in the ports, a total 
of 110,000. On the same day the Navy 
had some 17,000 at its Pacific port stations 
and none were detained on board ship. 
Only about 200 of the special troop sleep- 
ers ordered in May were in service in De- 
cember because of a strike in the plant 

manufacturing the beds; this strike had 
just been settled. 

It is clear that some of the difficulties 
encountered during the repatriation 
period stemmed from the facts that the 
peacetime capacity of the western rail- 
roads had been limited, that the expan- 
sion of their facilities during the war had 
been restricted by shortages of materials 
and manpower, and that after V-J Day 
these limitations could not be quickly 
overcome. As to other factors, one can 
raise questions but cannot provide defin- 
itive answers. Should the Army have dis- 
regarded the public demand for the 
speediest possible demobilization to the 
extent that was necessary to effect better 
co-ordination between water and rail 
movements? Could the peaks in the ar- 
rivals curve have been leveled off some- 
what without seriously delaying the 
movements of vessels? Should the Army 
have made a greater effort to land troops 
at the ports nearest the personnel centers 
for which they were destined in order to 
shorten the rail haul? Could the heavy 
movement of troops in the Pacific have 
been started earlier and the exceptionally 
heavy arrivals in November and Decem- 
ber have thus been reduced? Could more 
materials and manpower have been de- 
voted to building up the western railroads 
during the war without deleterious effects 
on the military effort? Could the ODT 
have reduced regular sleeper services fur- 
ther without serious damage to the civil- 
ian economy? Each of these questions has 
many facets and about all that can now 
be said with conviction is that future mili- 
tary planners should give them full 

162 Hearings filed n. B8j Pt. 32, December 21, 1945, 
pp. 16279-302. 



Looking back at the repatriation period 
after a lapse of years, one may wonder 
why public reaction to the rate of repa- 
triation and demobilization should have 
been so unreasoning, and why the delay 
of a few days at the debarkation ports 
should have caused so much criticism. 
The entire operation had proceeded with 
a rapidity that had surpassed the hopes of 
most Army officers. 163 Possibly these re- 
actions can be attributed in part to the 
War Department's early assurances that 
it would carry out demobilization with the 
utmost dispatch and to the inadequacy of 
its subsequent efforts to keep the public 
informed regarding the results achieved 
and the difficulties involved; yet it is 
doubtful if any course of action would 
have forestalled the criticism. After sev- 
eral years of war strain the national 
temper was taut and individual feelings 
were sensitive. Many troops had been 
overseas for long periods and had under- 
gone hardship and deprivation. The aver- 
age citizen did not see the problem in its 
larger context; he was aware only of the 
delayed return of the soldier in whom he 
was personally interested. Readiness to 
accuse the government of needless bun- 
gling is not an uncommon trait. These are 
circumstances that the military author- 
ities will always have to take into account. 

Evacuation of Patients 
From Oversea Theaters 

The wartime evacuation of sick and 
wounded soldiers from oversea areas in- 
volves problems quite different from those 
encountered in peacetime because of the 
volume of the traffic and the abnormal 
transportation conditions. Since the Army 
had not made adequate advance plans, 
much had to be done in developing facil- 
ities and procedures after the United 

States entered World War II. The early 
measures to provide hospital facilities 
afloat were taken somewhat haltingly, 
partly because it was difficult to forecast 
the extent of the need and partly because of 
differing opinions regarding the extent to 
which hospital ships should be used. The 
procedures were evolved gradually as the 
result of experience. There were extensive 
evacuation operations within the active 
theaters from the forward areas to the rear 
bases, but this discussion concerns pri- 
marily the removal of more than 500,000 
patients from the theaters to the United 
Spates. 164 

The regulations pertaining to the 
movement of patients were changed in 
many respects, but the following distribu- 
tion of basic responsibilities was in effect 
virtually throughout the war: Hospital- 
ization and evacuation for the Army were 
under the general direction of the Com- 
manding General, Army Service Forces, 
and his headquarters included a unit to 
supervise these activities. The Surgeon 
General was directly responsible for the 
co-ordination and completion of evacua- 
tion plans; he controlled bed credits in the 
general hospitals in the zone of interior 

161 In a lengthy statement issued to the press on 15 
January 1946 designed primarily to apprise the nation 
of our continuing military commitments overseas, 
General Eisenhower, then Chief of Staff, stated that 
approximately 5,000,000 members of the V-E Day 
force in the zone of interior and overseas had been re- 
turned to civilian life; the demobilization since V-J 
Day had exceeded the September estimate by about 
1,665,000. Eisenhower said that, while the desire for 
quick demobilization was understandable, he had not 
anticipated that "this emotional wave would have 
reached proportions of near-hysteria." 

164 For a month-to-month general review of evacua- 
tion, see appropriate sections of ASF MPR, Sec. 7, 
Health. For a more detailed, discussion, see Smith, The 
Medical Department: Hospitalization and Evacuation, j^one 
of Interior, Chs. XIX-XXIV. 



and was the chief medical regulator for 
controlling the flow of patients from ports 
to the hospitals; he made sure that the 
medical personnel, equipment, and sup- 
plies for the care of patients being trans- 
ported were adequate and made recom- 
mendations regarding the number of 
hospital ships and hospital cars to be pro- 
cured. The Chief of Transportation was 
responsible for providing adequate ship- 
ping and rail facilities for the transporta- 
tion of patients and for scheduling and 
operating the ships; he was also respon- 
sible for the care of patients at sea, for the 
debarkation of patients at U.S. ports, and 
for their transfer to hospital trains or am- 
bulances. Commanders of the service 
commands staffed and operated the hos- 
pital cars and ambulances that were used 
for the removal of patients from the ports 
to hospitals. The Commanding General, 
Army Air Forces, was responsible for the 
development of plans and the actual 
evacuation of patients by air from the 
oversea theaters. 165 

Although the movement of patients by 
water and rail was a responsibility of the 
Chief of Transportation, he required tech- 
nical advice and assistance from The Sur- 
geon General in order to perform that 
function properly. Close co-ordination be- 
tween the two offices was necessary on 
many details pertaining to the headquar- 
ters organizations in Washington, the 
ports of embarkation, the ships, and suit- 
able inland transportation. Although the 
Hospitalization and Evacuation Branch 
of ASF headquarters served as a co-ordi- 
nating agency, in May 1943 The Surgeon 
General assigned a liaison officer to the 
Chief of Transportation in order to effect 
a closer working relationship. 196 A year 
later a medical regulating officer, who 
took over the functions of the medical 
liaison officer, was designated by The Sur- 

geon General. 1 " 7 Col. John C. Fitzpatrick, 
Medical Corps, who served first as med- 
ical liaison officer and then as medical 
regulating officer, had his office in and 
was virtually a part of the Movements 
Division, OCT. In June 1945 his staff 
included six officers and twenty-one civil- 
ians. 168 

As liaison officer Colonel Fitzpatrick 
provided co-ordination between the Chief 
of Transportation and The Surgeon Gen- 
eral in matters relating to medical prac- 
tices at the ports and on the vessels, the 
suitability of shipping schedules to meet 
evacuation requirements, and the ade- 
quacy of medical personnel and supplies 
at the ports and on the ships. As medical 
regulating officer he maintained records 
of bed vacancies in medical installations 
where evacuated patients were to be 
treated, regulated the movement of pa- 
tients from the ports to the respective 
medical installations, and consulted with 
the Chief of Transportation in regard to 
appropriate transportation arrange- 
ments. 169 

The flow of patients from overseas was 
governed by the War Department evacu- 

165 Memo, TAG for CGs AGF, AAF, etal., 18Jun 
42, sub: WD Hosp and Evac Policy, AG 704 (6-17- 
42); Pamphlet, Mil Hosp and Evac Opns, transmitted 
with Memo, CG SOS for CGs of SvCs, PEs, et al.,\5 
Sep 42, SPOPH 322.15, OCT HB PE Gen Evac of 
Patients; Memo, TAG for CGs All Depts, Theaters, 
et aL, 25 Jan 43, sub: Sea Evac of Patients, AG 370.04 
(1-19-43); WD Cir 316, 6 Dec 43, sub: Hosp and Evac 
of Pers; Memo, TAG for CGs of Forces in ZI and 
Overseas, 8 Jan 44, sub: Procedure of Evac of Patients 
by Water and Air, AG 704. 1 1 (3 Jun 44). 

166 Hist Med Liaison Off, par. 1.8; 1st Ind, CofT to 
CG ASF, 10 May 43, OCT HB Farr Staybacks. 

167 ASF Cir 147, 19 May 44, Sec. II. For a discus- 
sion of the conditions that caused the establishment of 
the medical regulating office, see Hist Med Liaison 
Off, pars. 6.1-6.92. 

168 Hist Rpt, Mvmts Div, 20 Jun 45, par. 19, OCT 
HB Mvmts Div Rpts. 

169 See extract from SGO Manual and Organiza- 
tion Chart of the Medical Regulating Office in Hist 
Med Liaison Off, Preface and Incl 7.2. 




ation policy. The evacuation policy in 
effect determined which patients were to 
be treated in the theaters and which were 
to be treated in the zone of interior. 
Broadly speaking, this policy was ex- 
pressed in terms of days — that is, patients 
likely to be hospitalized for longer than a 
specified number of days were eligible for 
evacuation as soon as their condition 
would permit. The number of days dif- 
fered according to conditions such as the 
hospital capacities in the respective thea- 
ters, the hospital space situation in the 
zone of interior, and the ships available for 
transporting patients. In August 1943 the 
War Department, after consulting the 
theater commanders, announced that its 
policy of evacuation would be 180 days 
for the European theater (except Ice- 
land), China, Burma, and India; and 120 
days for all other oversea commands. 170 

The effect of changing circumstances 
on the evacuation policy is illustrated by 
developments in the ETO. In the fall of 
1944 with battle casualties mounting and 
ship hospital facilities greatly increased, 
the number of days was reduced from 180 

to 120. 171 Still later the policy was 
changed to 90 days. In the spring of 1945, 
in order to evacuate as many patients as 
possible before hostilities ended and troop- 
ships were withdrawn from the transat- 
lantic service, the policy was fixed tem- 
porarily at 60 days. In July 1945, with the 
major part of the evacuation task com- 
pleted, the 120-day basis was restored. In 
recommending the last change General 
Somervell pointed out that the Army at 
that time was "long on hospital space in 
Europe and crowded in the United 
States," and that westbound ship hospital 
space in the Atlantic had been greatly re- 
duced by the transfer of vessels to the 
Pacific. 172 

170 WD Memo VV 40-19-43, 28 Aug 43, sub: Policy 
on Evac of Sick and Wounded. For a general discus- 
sion, see remarks of Col Fitzpatrick at Conf of Port 
Surgeons and Troop Mvmt Officers, Fort Hamilton, 
N. Y., 12-14 Oct 43, pp. 72-74, in OCT HB PE Gen 
Evac of Patients. 

171 Memo, CG ASF for TAG, 30 Sep 44, and atchd 
note for record; Memo, WD for CG ETO, 5 Oct 44; 
both in AG 704 (25 Aug 43)(2). 

172 Memo, Somervell for Marshall, 18 Jul 45, sub: 
Change in Evac Policy, OCT HB PE Gen Evac of 



Since the great majority of patients 
were evacuated by water, the rate of 
evacuation was largely dependent on the 
availability of ship hospital facilities. The 
Army's aim was to have enough ship hos- 
pital facilities to meet evacuation needs as 
they arose, but this aim was not entirely 
fulfilled. The periodical estimates of 
future needs were affected by the fact that 
U.S. forces were engaged in areas and in 
types of combat with which the Army had 
had no previous experience, and in the 
beginning the estimates proved to be con- 
servative. 173 In view of the acute shortage 
of troop lift in the early part of the war, 
there was a natural reluctance to convert 
troopships to hospital ships or to convert 
troop spaces on transports to hospital 
spaces to a greater extent than was abso- 
lutely necessary. In addition, there were 
differences of opinion as to how far evacu- 
ation should be accomplished by hospital 
ships protected under the Hague Conven- 
tion X of 1907 and how far by regular 
troopships. The time lost in deciding these 
shipping questions delayed the Army's 
preparations for meeting its evacuation 

In view of the early controversy over 
the use of troopships and hospital ships for 
evacuating patients, it is worth noting the 
advantages and disadvantages that each 
presented. When troopships could be 
used, the evacuation operation did not re- 
quire the sacrifice of a great amount of 
outbound troop lift. On the other hand, 
troopships were always subject to attack 
by the enemy, a fact that created special 
problems in providing for the safety of pa- 
tients on board. The employment of 
troopships was governed by the outbound 
traffic, with the result that evacuation 
needs at some oversea bases could not be 
promptly met by this means. Sometimes 

the hospital facilities on troopships did not 
measure up to the desires of The Surgeon 
General or of the theater surgeons, al- 
though they were greatly improved dur- 
ing the war. In contrast, hospital ships 
could with reasonable assurance be con- 
sidered safe from enemy attack; they had 
but one purpose and could be employed 
in the manner that would best serve that 
purpose. They also provided the best facil- 
ities that the limitation of ship space and 
the exigencies of war would permit. But 
hospital ships once registered under the 
Hague Convention could not be used for 
any military purpose such as transporting 
troops to and from the theaters. 174 

Army efforts to secure hospital ships 
were blocked during the early months of 
the war by uncertainty as to who should 
pay for and who should operate such ves- 
sels. Although there was no unanimity 
within the War Department on the sub- 
ject, a proposal that six hospital ships be 
built was taken by G-4 as a basis for pre- 
liminary action. 175 In January 1942 the 
Army requested $36,000,000 for the con- 
struction of six hospital ships, but the 
request was disallowed by the Bureau of 
the Budget on the ground that the Mari- 
time Commission should procure the ves- 
sels from funds available to it. 17fi When 
the Army approached Rear Adm. Emory 
S. Land (Ret.), Chairman of the Mari- 
time Commission, he took the position 
that such ships properly came under the 
cognizance of the Navy. 177 His position 

173 Remarks by Col Fitzpatrick cited in n. 170. 

174 See Hist Med Liaison Off, par. 1.3; the Hague 
Convention X of 1907, Art. 4. The Convention is in- 
cluded in AR 55-530, 30 Dec 43. 

1,5 Memo, ACofS G-4- for TAG, 24 Jan 42, and 
note for record, G-4/29717-100. 

"« Memo, ACofS G-4 for CofS USA, 8 Feb 42, 

177 Ltr, CofS USA to Land, 12 Feb 42, and reply, 
24 Feb 42, both in G-4/33006-4. 



was predicated on a provision in joint war 
plans that in case of hostilities the Navy 
would operate all vessels required by the 
Army. 178 However, the Army and the 
Navy had informally set aside the provi- 
sion immediately after Pearl Harbor be- 
cause of the Navy's inability to provide 
crews for the Army's transports. The 
Army, moreover, ascertained that the 
Navy had no plans for operating hospital 
ships under the Hague Convention. 179 
The Army therefore did not agree with 
Admiral Land's view, and several months 
elapsed before any further action was 
taken. Finally, on 1 May 1942, the Secre- 
tary of War placed the situation before the 
Secretary of the Navy and proposed a 
conference of representatives of the two 
services to resolve the problem. He pointed 
out that the Army desired hospital ships 
that were protected under the Hague 
Convention and that naval hospital ships 
ordinarily were not eligible for such pro- 
tection since they operated tactically with 
the Fleet. 

At the suggestion of the Secretary of the 
Navy the question was referred to the 
Joint Staff Planners for study. From the 
discussions by the Joint Staff Planners it 
was evident that the Navy considered the 
operation of hospital ships a naval respon- 
sibility; but being concerned primarily 
with the forward areas of the Pacific and 
having no assurance that the Japanese 
would respect the markings on Conven- 
tion hospital ships, the Navy intended to 
rely on hospital ships operating with the 
Fleet and evacuation ships (APH's), 
which would carry troops and cargo out- 
bound and would accommodate about 
600 patients on the return voyage. Neither 
type of ship met the Army's desire for pro- 
tected vessels for use in repatriating its sick 
and wounded. 180 

Consideration of the subject by the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff resulted in agreement 
on two points — a tentative doctrine on the 
use of troopships and hospital ships for 
Army evacuation purposes, and the au- 
thorization of three hospital ships for 
Army use. With a view to economy of 
shipping, the JCS decided that evacuation 
normally would be accomplished by using 
troopships returning from areas that were 
served more or less regularly by troop- 
ships. To provide for additional Army re- 
quirements in the Pacific, where many 
small bases were involved, the JCS de- 
cided to request the Maritime Commis- 
sion to provide three vessels for conversion 
to hospital ships to be registered under the 
Convention. These vessels were to be 
fitted as hospital ships in accordance with 
Army specifications, employed under the 
direction of the Army, and provided with 
medical complements by the Army; but 
they were to be converted under the 
supervision of the Navy and manned and 
operated by naval personnel. 181 

The JCS action provided only half the 
number of hospital ships that the Army 
originally had asked for, and the conver- 
sion of these three vessels occupied a much 
longer period than Army officers had an- 
ticipated. Since the conversion of troop- 
ships would have deprived the Army of 
sorely needed troop lift, it was decided to 
use cargo ship hulls (C-lB type) for the 
hospital ships, and this meant that the 

178 Wardlow, op. nrf. Jpp. 'IQO^ZUT] 

179 Ltr, C oFTrans Br G-4 to WSA, 7 Mar 42, G-4/ 
33006; Memo, ACofS G-4 For CofS, file copy undated, 
sub: Hospital Ships, and atchd draft of Ltr, SW to 
Adm Land, both in OPD ABC 370.05 (2-8-42), 
Sec. 1. 

ikojps 27/D, 6 May 42; Memo, ACofS OPD for 
CG SOS, 9 May 42, OPD ABC 370.05 (2-8-42); JPS 
27/1, 16 May 42. 

181 JCS 16th Mtg, 25 May 42; JPS 27/2/D, 26 May 
42; JPS 52/1, 29 Jun 42; JCS 22d Mtg, 30 Jun 42. 



superstructure and all accommodations 
and hospital fittings had to be newly de- 
signed and constructed. 182 Commence- 
ment of the conversion work was consider- 
ably delayed by a misunderstanding as to 
which service would provide the specifica- 
tions for the machinery and the electrical 
equipment. The Navy expected the Army 
to provide these specifications, while the 
Army believed that it was responsible only 
for the specifications pertaining to hos- 
pital facilities and that since the Navy 
would man and operate the vessels it 
would provide all other specifications. 183 
The hulls were built and the conversion 
work was accomplished on the Pacific 
coast, where the shipbuilding and the ship 
repair yards were heavily committed, and, 
as the Army learned in September 1943, 
the job was originally given a low priority. 
These factors, together with the Navy's 
usual insistence on the highest technical 
standards, delayed the deliveries well be- 
yond the time the Army had foreseen. 184 
The vessels, named Comfort, Mercy, and 
Hope, did not enter service until June, 
August, and September 1944, respec- 
tively. 185 

These three Army-controlled, Navy- 
operated hospital ships were earmarked 
for service in the Pacific, and when the 
Allies decided in July 1942 to invade 
North Africa in the fall of that year the 
question of additional hospital ships to 
serve in the Atlantic was immediately 
raised. General Eisenhower, who did not 
favor heavy reliance on troopships for 
evacuating patients, wanted five hospital 
ships by April 1943 and an additional 
hospital ship each month until a total of 
ten or possibly more were in service. The 
Surgeon General also favored ordering 
more hospital ships, particularly for the 
evacuation of patients from the smaller 

and more isolated oversea bases not served 
regularly by troopships. The Chief of 
Transportation, while recognizing that 
eventually such vessels would be required, 
was opposed to immediate action. He 
contended that emphasis should be placed 
on using all available troopships for mov- 
ing troops to the theaters rather than 
withdrawing some of them from service 
for conversion, a step that would be nec- 
essary if early delivery of hospital ships 
was to be obtained. He pointed out that in 
any event the major part of the evacua- 
tion from the active theaters would have 
to be accomplished with troopships. 
Finally, he argued that if the need for hos- 
pital ships should become urgent, troop- 
ships could then be converted very 
quickly. Although the Commanding Gen- 
eral, Services of Supply, was inclined to 
follow The Surgeon General's recom- 
mendation that three additional hospital 
ships be provided with the least possible 
delay, further deliberation by the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff resulted in a decision in 
November 1942 to delay action and await 
developments. 186 

In the spring of 1943 with the demand 

182 Memo, GG SOS for VGNO, 14 Jul 42, OCT HB 
Wylie Hosp Ships; Memo, CG SOS for VCNO, 9 Sep 
42, OCT 564 Hosp Ships; Memo, VCNO for 
BUSHIPS and BUPERS, 12 Sep 42, OCT HB Gross 
Hosp Ships. 

183 Memo, VCNO for CofS USA, 18 Dec 42; 
Memo, ACofS OPD for CofS USA, 8 Jan 43; Memo, 
CofS USA for VCNO, 1 1 Jan 43, sub: Comfort, Hope, 
Mercy; all in OPD ABC 570 (2-14-42), Sec. IV. 

184 Memo, CG ASF for VCNO, 21 Sep 43, sub: 
Missions for Hosp Ships to be Operated by USN, and 
atchd Rad, Bradley for Ralph Keating, 13 Sep 43, 
both in OCT HB Meyer Stayback. 

185 Hist Med Liaison Off, Tabs 7, 13, and 20. 

186 JPS 27/5/D, 24 Aug 42; 1st Ind, SG for DCofS 
for Opns SOS, 23 Oct 42; 2d Ind, CG SOS for CofT, 
28 Oct 42; Memo, CofT for Secretariat JPS, 2 Nov 
42; Last three in OCT 564 Hosp Ships; JPS 27/6, 6 
Nov 42; JCS 52/3, 12 Nov 42; Memo, CG SOS for 
CofT, 21 Nov 42, OCT 564 Hosp Ships. 



for evacuation from the North African 
theater increasing and further campaigns 
in the Mediterranean and in Europe im- 
pending, The Surgeon General again pro- 
posed that additional hospital ships be 
authorized. He made it clear that he 
wanted these vessels for evacuation pur- 
poses, not for use as floating hospitals. 187 
The first result of this proposal was a de- 
cision to convert two small troopships, the 
Acadia and the Seminole, to hospital ships 
and to register them under the Conven- 
tion. 188 The general question was referred 
to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with the result 
that an entirely new approach to the 
problem was adopted. 

In accordance with a recommendation 
of the Army, the JCS decided in June 
1943 that Convention-protected ships 
thereafter would be considered the "nor- 
mal means" for evacuating helpless pa- 
tients, and that enough hospital ships 
would be provided to implement the 
policy. At the recommendation of the 
Joint Military Transportation Committee 
it was agreed that thirteen additional hos- 
pital ships would be provided by 31 De- 
cember 1943, and six more by 31 Decem- 
ber 1944. This program, together with the 
three Navy-operated and two Army-oper- 
ated vessels already authorized, would 
give the Army twenty-four hospital ships 
by the end of 1944. The Army indicated 
its readiness to convert, man, and operate 
these vessels, and the Navy agreed to that 
arrangement. In order to provide early 
additions to the hospital ship fleet, ten of 
the smaller and slower troopships were to 
be converted as soon as equivalent troop 
lift could be provided by converting fast 
cargo ships to troopships. The remainder 
of the hospital ship program was to be 
accomplished by the conversion of 
freighters. 189 

The desire to place the majority of the 
new hospital ships in service during 1943 
was not realized. In fact, aside from the 
Acadia and the Seminole, only one vessel 
had sailed on its firs t trip up to the end of 
the year. ([Table 13) The delays were due 
to general conditions prevailing in the 
shipbuilding and ship repair industries — 
heavily committed yards and shortages of 
materials and labor — and to the initial 
failure to obtain a sufficiently high pri- 
ority for this work. In the spring of 1944 
the Chief of Transportation reported that 
he was feeling some embarrassment in his 
effort to keep up with the evacuation pro- 
gram. The matter of obtaining a higher 
priority was pressed through the War 
Shipping Administration and the Co- 
ordinator of Ship Repair and Conversion, 
and by the end of that year all but two of 
the projected hospital ships had been 
made ready for service. 190 

In the spring of 1944 the Joint Military 
Transportation Committee estimated that 
more hospital ships than had been pro- 
jected would be needed, but no additions 
to the program were authorized at that 

181 Memo, Col Harry D. Offutt, Dir Hosp and Evac 
Div SGO, for Brig Gen Larry B. McAfee, Asst to SG, 
29 Mar 43, SGO 560.2 Hosp Ships; Memo, SG for 
OPD through CG ASF, 30 Mar 43, OCT 564 Hosp 

188 OCT HB Monograph 7, Army Hosp Ships in 
World War II, pp. 22-32. The Acadia had been serv- 
ing the North African theater as an ambulance ship — 
that is, it was equipped to handle a large number of 
patients inbound but was not registered under the 
Convention and so could carry troops outbound. 

189 Memo, Gross for Somervell, 1 1 May 43, OCT 
564 Hosp Ships; JCS 315, 13 May 43; JPS 187/1, 28 
May 43; JCS 315/1, 30 May 43; Memo, Wylie for 
Somervell, 3 1 May 43, OCT 564 Hosp Ships; Memo 
by JCS Secretariat, 11 Jun 43, OPD ABC 370.05 (2- 
8-42), Sec. 2. 

"'Memos, ACofT for Maj Gen Lucius D. Clay, 19 
May 44 and 5 Jun 44, sub: Hosp Ship Conversion, 
OCT 564 Hosp Ships. 

Table 13 — Army Hospital Ships Entering Service During World War II * 




First Voy<i$e From the 
Departure Date 

United States 




North Africa 



4 September 1943 .... 

North Africa 


A t A 


20 September 1943 .... 

North Africa 


A f A 


1 T7_L ... . injj 

North Africa 



f »f A Li PI A A 

North Africa 



8 April 1944 

North Africa 



North Africa 



North Africa 






7 July 1944 

United Kingdom 

Emily H. M. Wider 



12 July 1944 







United Kingdom 



i/\t i m i j 




21 July 1944 

United Kingdom 

1 1 

X 1 


St. Olaf* 



12 August 1944 

United Kingdom 



United Kingdom 




31 August 1944 

Southwest Pacific 

Jarrett M. Huddleston* 



7 September 1944 .... 

United Kingdom 

Charles A. Stafford 



21 September 1944 .... 

United Kingdom 




23 September 1944 .... 

Southwest Pacific 

Louis A. Milne*** 



19 March 1945 

United Kingdom 



13 April 1945 

United Kingdom 



18 April 1945 

United Kingdom 



30 June 1945 

United Kingdom 

* All listed vessels were previously passenger ships or troopships except those marked ( + ) which were war-built Liberty-type freighters, 
those marked (**) which were war-built C-1B type freighters, and those marked (***) which were older freighters. In addition to those 
Listed, three vessels were selected for conversion to Army hospital ships in January 1945 — the Armin W. Leuschner and the Howard A. McCurdy 
on which conversion work was suspended in August 1945, and the Republic, which was completed but had engine trouble on her voyage to 
the Pacific coast and did not enter hospital ship service until January 1946. 

Source: History, Medical Liaison Office to OCT and Medical Regulating Service SGO, Incl 3.0, in OCT HB Mvmts Div Med Reg Sv. 
For additional data, see Charles, Troopships of World War II, pp. 327-51. The data given by these sources do not always agTee, but the 
discrepancies are not serious. 

time. 191 In the following November con- 
sideration of the subject was given sharp 
impetus by an urgent request from Gen- 
eral Eisenhower, then supreme com- 
mander in the ETO, that additional 
hospital ships be assigned to serve that 
theater. The War Department did not ap- 
prove this request; it replied that ten 

hospital ships already were serving the 
ETO and that the requirements of other 
theaters prevented any transfers; it fur- 
ther pointed out that the ETO had not 

191 JCS 777/1, 2 Apr 44. For a re-estimate of pa- 
tient load and facilities, see study by SGO, Feb 44, 
sub: Hospitalization and Evacuation, in OCT HB 
Gross Hosp and Evac. 



been making full use of the hospital spaces 
on homeward-bound U.S. troopships and 
emphasized that this must be done; it 
urged also that efforts be made to increase 
the number of patients evacuated on the 
large British liners. The War Department 
informed the ETO that a study of the 
over-all evacuation problem was under 
way, but that even if additional hospital 
ships should be authorized they would not 
be available before March 1945. 192 

The study of the over-all evacuation 
problem was being made by the Joint 
Logistics Committee and the Joint Mili- 
tary Transportation Committee, and the 
results were presented to the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff in mid-December 1944. The an- 
nounced purpose of the inquiry was to 
determine the adequacy of existing evacu- 
ation programs of the Army and the Navy 

for the maximum war effort. The commit- 


tees found deficiencies for certain periods 
and recommended that additional hospi- 
tal ships with a total capacity for 5,500 
patients be provided. They called atten- 
tion to the heavy evacuation requirements 
of the ETO and pointed out that evacu- 
ation from that area by troopships would 
be reduced as the theater's need for addi- 
tional replacements declined and troop- 
ships were transferred to the Pacific. In 
the Pacific, the repeated amphibious as- 
saults on Japanese-held bases were ex- 
pected to create heavy and continuous 
evacuation requirements. The commit- 
tees' recommendation that these addi- 
tional hospital ships be obtained by con- 
verting troopships was approved by the 
JCS, and the JMTC promptly designated 
five vessels to be converted and operated 
by the Army. 193 

Twenty-nine hospital ships were thus 
authorized for the Army, but only twenty- 
six were in service when the war ended. 

The conversion plans for two vessels were 
changed upon cessation of hostilities, and 
the ships were completed as troopships; 
another vessel was completed as a hospital 
ship in August but was delayed by ma- 
chinery repairs after arrival at Los An- 
geles and did not enter service until 
January 1946. The twenty -six vessels actu- 
ally in service before V-J Day had total 
accommodations f or 16,755 hospital pa- 

tients. As shown in 

the patient 
1,628. Most 

Table 13 

capacities ranged from 286 to 
of the vessels were relatively small and 
slow. Only five had cruising speeds of 15 
knots or more, and only one had capacity 
for more than 1,000 patients. The largest 
and fastest was the Frances T. Slanger, form- 
erly the Italian liner Saturnia, which did 
not enter hospital ship service until June 
1945. 194 In addition to these Army vessels, 
the Navy, which initially did not plan to 
operate hospital ships under the Conven- 
tion, had twelve such ships at the end of 
the war, and they sometimes carried Army 
patients. 195 

The conversion and operation of hospi- 
tal ships by the Army called for close col- 
laboration by The Surgeon General and 
the Chief of Transportation. The conver- 
sion work was done under the supervision 
of the Chief of Transportation, but The 
Surgeon General passed on the suitability 
of the ships selected and determined the 
conversion plans and specifications so far 

19:i Msg, ETO to WD, 30 Nov 44, E 69073 (CM- 
IN 101, 1 Dec 44); Msg, WD to ETO, 2 Dec 42, 
WARX 721 13. 

193 JCS 1199, 16 Dec 44; Memo, CG ASF for 
ACofS OPD, 27 Dec 44, sub: Implementation of 
Hosp Ship Program, OPD ABC 370.05 (2-8-42), Sec. 
2; Ltr, C of Water Div OCT to WSA, 29 Dec 44; 
Memo, C of Water Div for Lt Col William M. Day, 
ASF Hq, 7 Feb 45; last two in OCT 564 Hosp Ships. 

191 For capacities and patients carried on each 
voyage, see Hist Med Liaison Off, Incls 3.0 and 4,41. 

195 Ibid., par. 4.9. 



as -they affected the accommodation and 
treatment of patients and the accommo- 
dation and equipment of the medical 
staff. 196 The Chief of Transportation was 
responsible for the marking, equipment, 
and operation of the vessels in accordance 
with the Hague Convention. 197 

The Army employed civilian crews in 
the deck, engine, and stewards depart- 
ments of its hospital ships as on other 
Army-operated vessels, but it used mili- 
tary personnel in all positions pertaining 
to the medical care of patients. The rela- 
tively large amount of space assigned to 
civilian crewmen under standards adopted 
by the maritime industry was a matter of 
concern to The Surgeon General, because 
it reduced the patient capacities of the 
vessels and sometimes forced medical en- 
listed personnel into undesirable space. 
But an attempt to replace civilians with 
military personnel in the stewards depart- 
ment met with labor union opposition and 
therefore was carried out on only a limited 
scale. 198 Since the high rate of turnover 
among seamen was not conducive to the 
orderliness and esprit de corps essential on 
hospital ships, the Chief of Transportation 
made a special effort to induce crewmen 
to stay with the vessels, but he obtained 
no appreciable results. 199 

The medical staffs on hospital ships — at 
first called hospital ship companies, and 
then hospital ship complements — varied 
in size with the patient capacities of the 
vessels. According to the scale approved in 
March 1945, the complement for a vessel 
with capacity for 500 patients was 179 
officers and enlisted men; a vessel with 
capacity for 800 patients carried a com- 
plement of 251; a vessel with a capacity 
for 1,000 patients carried a complement 
of 306. 200 Because of the scarcity of person- 

nel, the complements employed during 
the latter part of the war were somewhat 
smaller than those authorized earlier. The 
senior medical officer permanently sta- 
tioned on board was designated hospital 
ship commander; in addition to medical 
duties, he had responsibilities similar to 
those of the transport commander on a 
troopship. 201 Utilization of both military 
and civilian personnel on Army hospital 
ships necessitated the issuance of explicit 
instructions on matters of jurisdiction, and 
for the three ships that were operated by 
naval crews these matters were covered by 
an Army-Navy agreement. 202 

The Chief of Transportation assigned 
direct responsibility for the operation of 
Army hospital ships to the commanders of 
the vessels' home ports. The port com- 
manders provided the civilian crews, put 
on board the supplies and equipment 
those crews required, supervised the per- 
formance of maintenance and repairs, and 

19G Memo, SG for CofT, 3 1 Dec 42; Memo, SG for 
Col Fitzpatrick, 30 Jun 43; both in SGO 560.2 Hosp 
Ships. SGO file 632.1 BB for the years 1940-45 in- 
cludes extensive correspondence on this subject. 

197 AR 55-530, 30 Dec 43, sub: Hosp Ships; TG 
Pamphlet 16, 4 Apr 45, sub: U.S. Army Hosp Ship 

198 Memo, SG for CG ASF, 1 3 Nov 43, par. 6, sub: 
T/O 8-537, AG 320.3 (20 Nov 43)(2); Memo by Col 
Achilles L. Tynes, 30 Jan 45, and atchd statement, 
Data for Hist Record of Constr Br, in Hist Records 
SGO; Memo by Maj Howard A. Donald, 18Jun 44, 
sub: Plans for Conversion of SS Dorothy Luckenbach s 
SGO 632.1 BB; Smith, op ext., Ch. XXIII, pp. 

199 Ltr, Gross to Groninger, 26 Jun 43, OCT HB 
Gross Hosp Ships; Memo, CofT for CG CPE, 9 Dec 
44, OCT 231 Hosp Ships. 

200 T /Q 8-537, 1 Apr 42, Hosp Ship Company; 
T/O&E 8-537T, 7 Dec 43, Hosp Ship Complement; 
T/O&E 8-537, 3 Mar 45. 

201 See above, |Ch. 11;] Instruction to Hosp Ship 
Comdrs, issued by CPE, 4 Feb 44, OCT HB CPE. 

20 2 OCT Cir 164, 10 Dec 43, TC Cir 80-14, revised 
15 May 44; ASF Cir 36, 31 Jan 45; Principles Apply- 
ing to Army-Staffed and Navy-Manned Hospital 
Ships, undated, OCT HB Wylie Hosp Ships. 



issued the necessary operating instructions. 
The port commanders also were responsi- 
ble for placing on each vessel the required 
number of medical personnel and the re- 
quired quantities of medical supplies. The 
medical staff and their activities on board 
were under the technical supervision of 
The Surgeon General. 

Preparing hospital ships for their voy- 
ages and making preparations for the de- 
barkation of patients were specialized 
jobs. For that reason, it was decided in 
1943 that so far as practicable the hospital 
ships serving in the Atlantic should be op- 
erated out of the Charleston Port of Em- 
barkation. 203 There was an advantage in 
having such vessels sail from and discharge 
their patients at a port that was not bur- 
dened with heavy troop or cargo move- 
ments. Also, as pointed out by Brig. Gen. 
James T. Duke, the port commander at 
Charleston, the experience gained in regu- 
larly handling a number of hospital ships 
enabled port officers to deal more expertly 
with the problems of personnel and 
supply that were continually arising. 204 

The deployment of Army hospital 
ships was determined chiefly by combat 
operations. They were employed mainly 
in evacuating patients to the United States 
from North Africa, the Mediterranean, 
the United Kingdom, continental Europe, 
the Southwest Pacific, and the western 
Pacific, and in evacuating patients from 
forward to rear bases in the Mediterra- 
nean and the Pacific. 205 Voyage assign- 
ments were made by the Chief of Trans- 
portation in accordance with reports of 
patients awaiting evacuation and estimates 
of casualties likely to result from impend- 
ing military actions. 206 As shown in Table 
13, | the twenty-three Army-operated hos- 
pital ships made their first voyages to the 

transatlantic theaters. Some of them were 
transferred to the Pacific before and some 
after the Japanese capitulation, and others 
were decommissioned as hospital ships 
after they were no longer needed for evac- 
uating patients from Europe. 207 The three 
Navy-operated hospital ships served en- 
tirely in the Pacific, a considerable part of 
their time being spent in moving patients 
within the southwest and western Pacific 

Regardless of the number of hospital 
ships in service, the greater part of the pa- 
tients evacuated by water to the United 
States was moved by troop transports — 97 
percent in 1943, 75 percent in 1944, and 
74 percent in 1945. 208 (Tables\l4\andf5\ 
In September 1942 the Commanding 
General, Services of Supply, instructed the 
Chief of Transportation to provide hospi- 
tal beds equal to 5 percent of the troop 
berths on Army-owned transports and 4 
percent on "chartered" transports. 209 
These percentages were later increased to 
8 and 7, respectively. 210 Not all patients 
required hospital beds, and during the 

- m Memo, CofT for SG, 22 Sep 43, OCT 353-370.5 

201 Hosp Ship Opns, by Gen Duke, undated, OCT 
HB Wylie Hosp Ships. 

206 British hospital ships were also used for U.S. in- 
tratheater evacuation in the Mediterranean and be- 
tween the Continent and the United Kingdom. 

™ r > See Memo, SG for Somervell, 23 Dec 43, and 
Memo, CofT for Somervell, 1 1 Jan 44, in OCT HB 
Farr Staybacks. 

207 Concerning the schedule of transfers to the Pa- 
cific and delays in making necessary improvements 
in ventilation, see Memo, Farr for Wylie, 14 Jul 45, 
OCT HB Wylie Hosp Ships. 

208 Hist Med Liaison Off, Sec. 7.00. 

209 Memo, CG SOS for CofT, 8 Sep 42, sub: Ship 
Hosp Facilities, AG 704 (6-17-42) (1). The term 
"chartered" covered WSA troopships allocated to the 

210 Memo, TAG for CGs AAF, AGF, ASF, et al.. 8 
Jun 44, sub: procedure for Evac of Patients by Water 
orAir, Incl 1, AG 704.1 1 (3Jun44). 

USS COMFORT OFF LOS ANGELES HARBOR. Army medical personnel and Navy 
crew members of the ship on deck. 



Table 14 — Patients Evacuated From Overseas by Water and Debarked at Army 
Ports in the United States: 1943-1945 a 






67, 395 



5, 931 


35, 383 

17, 810 

39, 850 

127, 748 


12, 807 


1, 128 

31, 148 


1, 261 




3, 528 

15, 417 

30, 545 

45, 380 

55, 789 


2, 943 


* Includes Army, Navy, and Allied military patients debarked at Army ports indicated. In addition 168 patients were debarked at the 
Baltimore cargo port in 1943 and 1 in 1944. 

So«r«; History, Medical Liaison Office to OCT and Medical Regulating Service SGO, Sec. 7.00, in OCT HB Mvmts Div Med Reg Sv. 

heavy evacuation operation of 1945 many 
troopships carried more than a thousand 
patients. A few of the larger U.S. troop- 
ships accommodated 2,800 patients, and 
the larger British vessels exceeded that 
number. The "safe" patient capacity of 
each vessel was determined by a survey 
team representing The Surgeon General, 
the Chief of Transportation, the master of 
the vessel, and the transport commander, 
and the oversea commanders were kept 
informed of the current capacity of each 
vessel for each class of patients. 211 Changes 
in hospital facilities were effected through 
the co-operative efforts of The Surgeon 
General and the Chief of Transportation, 
and when such changes were of a nature 
that would affect the patient capacity of 
the ship a resurvey was made. 212 

Since the number of patients carried on 
troopships varied widely from trip to trip, 
it was necessary to devise a flexible and 
economical method of assigning medical 
personnel. The plan adopted was to assign 
to each troopship a small permanent med- 

ical staff headed by a transport surgeon, 
and to provide medical hospital ship pla- 
toons to be assigned to transport surgeons 
as supplemental personnel when need- 
ed. 2 13 In the beginning these platoons 
ranged in size from seven to eighty-eight 
officers and enlisted men organized to 
provide average care, when supplement- 
ing the permanent medical staff, for 
groups of patients ranging from twenty- 
five to five hundred. Later, the size 
of the platoons was reduced and nurses 
were eliminated. 214 Eventually it was 
found feasible to standardize these units 

211 1st Ind, C of Mvmts Div OCT for C of Contl 
Div OCT, 27 Nov 44; OCT Misc Ltr 28, 14 Jul 44; 
both in OCT 569.5 Pers Capacity of Transports. 

212 General specifications for hospital areas on 
troopships are given in Memo, SG for CofT, 26 Nov 
42, and 1st Ind, SG for CofT, 4 Jan 43; see also 
Memo, Col Tynes for SG, 3 Jul 43, sub: Rpt of Conf; 
all-in SGO 632.1 BB. 

213 On the transport surgeon, see AR 55-350, 14 
Sep 42, Sec. II; see also Instructions for Transport 
Surgeons, issued by CPE, 1 Dec 43, OCT HB CPE. 

214 T/O 8-534, 27 Oct 42, sub: Med Hosp Ship 
Platoons Separate; T/O&E 8-534, 21 Oct 43. 



Table 15 — Percentage of Patients Debarked by the Army From Troopships, 
Hospital Ships, and Aircraft: 1943-1945 * 

Means of Transport 




Total. . . . 









20. 1 



22. 5 

» A total of 2,390 patients was debarked in 1941, 9,240 in 1942, and 22,909 in 1946. The patients debarked were chiefly Army personnel, 
but limited numbers of U. S. Navy and Allied personnel were included. 

Source: Smith, The Medical Department: Hospitalization and Evacuation, Zone of Interior, Table 16. 

on the basis of one medical officer, one 
dental officer, and fifteen enlisted men to 
care for one hundred patients. 215 

The personnel for hospital ship pla- 
toons, and also for hospital ship comple- 
ments, after being trained at Medical 
Corps schools, was placed under the con- 
trol of the commanders of the ports of 
embarkation. The port commanders were 
responsible for the organization of the 
required number of units and for provid- 
ing such additional training as was neces- 
sary to enable the units to function prop- 
erly on board. 216 At the end of June 1945 
the 322 medical hospital ship platoons 
then in service embraced 661 commis- 
sioned officers and 4,955 enlisted men, a 
total of 5,616. On the same date there 
were 481 commissioned officers, 29 war- 
rant officers, 1,112 nurses, and 4,351 
enlisted men — a total of 5,973 — assigned 
to hospital ship complements. 217 The 
training and technical supervision of such 
personnel was a function of the port sur- 
geon. The supervision of medical supplies 
was charged to the port medical supply 
officer. These officers were assigned to the 
ports by The Surgeon General, but each 
officer was responsible directly to the port 

commander as a member of his technical 
staff. 218 

Until late in 1944, medical hospital 
ship platoons were assigned to service by 
the commanders of the ports to which they 
were attached; at that time they were 
placed under the control of the Move- 
ments Division, OCT, which was in a 
better position to direct their employment 
in accordance with the over-all need. The 
platoons were sent overseas for temporary 
attachment to the theater commanders, 
who placed them on returning troopships 
as their services were required. 219 Despite 

2,5 Memo, CofT for Mob Div ASF, 10 Jun 43, 
OCT 322 Med Hosp Ship Platoons; Memo, CofT for 
CG ASF, 1 Apr 44, Reorg of Med Hosp Ship Pla- 
toons, OCT HB Gross Hosp and Evac; Memo, Mvmts 
Div OCT for Hist Unit OCT, 20 Jun 45, par. 19, 
OCT HB Mvmts Div Rpts. 

216 The extent of the medical training given per- 
sonnel was determined by the Medical Corps. 

217 Tabulation, T/O Units Used on Ships as of 30 
Jun 45, prepared by Dir of Pers OCT, in OCT HB 
Dir of Pers. 

218 Memo.SG for CofT, 30 Apr 42; Memo, CofT 
for PEs, 2 May 42; sub: Port Med Supply Off; both 
in OCT 323.6 Duties of Med Off. 

2,9 Memo, TAG for CGs of Depts, Theaters, el aL, 
25 Jan 43; sub: Sea Evac Opns, par. 2c, AG 370.05 
(1-19-43); Memo, CofT for PEs, 5 Jun 43, sub: See 
Evac of Patients, OCT 370.05 Plans, Policies, and 



the effort to use them as intensively as pos- 
sible, there were not enough platoons to 
meet requirements after evacuations be- 
came heavy, and oversea commanders 
were directed to make maximum use of 
medical personnel returning from the the- 
aters on leave, rotation, or temporary 
duty, by organizing them into provisional 
platoons. 220 

The military operations in North Africa 
and the Mediterranean in 1943 made 
heavy demands on troopship hospital 
facilities. The first Army hospital ships did 
not become available until the summer of 
that year; the patient capacities of the 
troopships were small and not definitely 
established; and full co-ordination be- 
tween the theater and the zone of interior 
had not been worked out. In June Col. 
Thomas G. Tousey, a medical officer from 
the New York Port of Embarkation, was 
dispatched to North Africa to study the 
situation, and his report disclosed many 
shortcomings. 221 He found that medical 
hospital ship platoons were being held in 
idleness in some base sections pending 
assignment to troopships, whereas the in- 
dividual members might have been as- 
signed to temporary medical duties on 
shore that would have provided training 
and helped morale. This situation was 
due in part to the attitude of some platoon 
officers who did not consider their units 
subject to shore duty. A definite plan for 
the assignment of platoons to ships was 
not being followed. The Army regulation 
requiring that platoons be assigned as 
units could not be uniformly enforced 
without great waste of personnel because 
it often happened that only a large pla- 
toon was available for assignment to a ship 
with small patient capacity. Sometimes 
the transport surgeons would not accept 
as many patients, or as many of a particu- 

lar class, as the oversea medical officers 
desired to embark, and there were in- 
stances where patients were brought to the 
dock and then taken back to the hospital. 
Surgeons on naval transports refused to 
accept Army nurses, with the result that 
nurses had to be left behind when the rest 
of the platoon sailed. Colonel Tousey re- 
ported also that not enough forethought 
was being given to the proper kinds and 
quantities of medical supplies to be 
stocked on the respective transports. 
While his findings contributed substan- 
tially to the improvement of procedures, 
the insufficiency of ship hospital facilities 
continued, and at the end of the year 
there was a considerable backlog of 
patients in North Africa. 222 

A backlog of patients also developed in 
the European theater after the invasion of 
Normandy. Reference has been made to 
the instructions sent to ETOUSA early in 
December 1944 that U.S. troopships 
would have to be used to the maximum in 
evacuating the sick and wounded and that 
an effort should be made to use the Brit- 
ish liners more extensively for this pur- 
pose. Such a program was necessary in 
order to avoid accumulating a backlog of 
patients that would require a long period 
to liquidate after the Germans had sur- 
rendered and the majority of the troop- 
ships had been transferred to the Pacific. 

22n AG Memo, 8 Jun 44, fcited n. 210] par. 146; 
OCT Misc Ltr 1 1 1 to PEs, 3 Apr 45, sub: Med Hosp 
Ship Platoons, OCT HB PE Gen Evac of Patients; 
Ltrs, CofT ASF for CofT ETOUSA and CofT 
MTOUSA. 10 May 45, OCT HB Gross Hosp and 
Evac; Rad, WD to ETOUSA and MTOUSA, 25 
May 45, WARX 88847. 

221 Memo, Col Tousey for CG NYPE, 20 Aug 43, 
sub: Rpt of Oversea Observer. OCT 370.05 Patients. 

222 Rad, Algiers to WD, 8 Nov 43, CM-IN 4781; 
CMTC 76th Mtg, 2 Dec 43, Item 4; Memo, SG for 
Somervell, 23 Dec 43; Memo, CofT for Somervell, 1 1 
Jan 44; last two in OCT HB Farr Staybacks Jan 1944, 
No. 35. 



In Washington the Chief of Transporta- 
tion and The Surgeon General, Maj. Gen. 
Norman T. Kirk, were in agreement on 
this point, but it was evident that the same 
understanding did not exist between their 
counterparts in Europe. The theater med- 
ical staff had a strong preference for hos- 
pital ships and also regarded the rated 
capacities of many troopship hospitals as 
too high in view of the facilities. In Octo- 
ber 1944 General Gross requested General 
Ross, Chief of Transportation, ETOUSA, 
to give particular attention to the matter, 
and during a trip to Europe in December 
Gross made the settlement of the question 
one of his objectives. As a result, a much 
better understanding was established be- 
tween the Transportation Corps organiza- 
tion and Maj. Gen. Paul R. Hawley, the 
theater surgeon, and an agreement was 
worked out with the British whereby the 
number of patients to be accommodated 
on the Queens was greatly increased. After 
necessary improvements in facilities and 
additions to the ships' medical personnel, 
first priority was given to 3,500 U.S. sick 
and wounded on each westbound trip of 
the Queen Elizabeth and to 3,000 on the 
Queen Mary. 2iS 

During the winter of 1945 General 
Somervell continued to stress the policy of 
evacuating patients from the ETO as rap- 
idly as possible; he did not want a repeti- 
tion of the slow evacuation following 
World War I, which he termed "the scan- 
dal and disgrace of the military serv- 
ice." 224 In line with this policy the Chief 
of Transportation instructed the port com- 
manders on the Atlantic coast to resurvey 
all troopships under U.S. control in order 
to establish the greatest "practical patient 
capacity," and he was careful to see that 
full advantage was taken of the increased 
patient capacities of these vessels and the 

British Queens. 225 Shortly before V-E Day 
eighteen troopships were designated to 
carry as many sick and wounded as they 
could accommodate, and the number of 
able-bodied troops to be transported was 
correspondingly reduced. 226 

May 1945 was the peak month for 
evacuation by water from the ETO and 
the MTO, with 35,680 patients arriving 
at U.S. Atlantic ports during that pe- 
riod. 227 Those theaters had also been 
instructed to give top priority to patients 
on the westbound airlift. 228 Late in July 
the War Department announced that its 
plan to bring all transportable sick and 
wounded soldiers home from Europe 
within ninety days after V-E Day would 
be accomplished. 229 

For the movement of patients from the 
Pacific theaters the Army relied heavily on 
troopships until after evacuation from the 
ETO and the MTO had progressed to a 

225 Ltrs, Gross to Ross, 9 Oct 44 and 17 Nov 44, 
OCT HB Gross Day File; Ltr, Ross to Gross, 28 Oct 

44, OCT HB PE Gen Evac of Patients; TWXs be- 
tween OCT ASF and OCT ETOUSA, 1035 of 27 
Sep 44, 1137 of 17 Oct 44, 1149 of 19 Oct 44, 1176 of 
24 Oct 44; Memo, SG for Wylie, 14 Nov 44, OCT 
HB PE Gen Evac of Patients; Memo, Wylie for 
Somervell, 15 Dec 44, ASF Hq Trans 1944; CCS 
751/1, 3 Jan 45; CMT 67, 16 Jan 45; Ltr, Wyiie for 
CG NYPE, 1 Mar 45, OCT HB Wylie Staybacks. 

224 Memo, Somervell for Wood and Gross, 23 Feb 

45, ASF Hq Trans 1945. 

233 Memo, CofT for BPE, NYPE, HRPE, 5 Feb 45; 
Memo, CofT for CG ASF, 6 Feb 45; both in ASF Hq 
Trans 1945; Memo, CofS USA for CG ETOUSA, 22 
Mar 45; Memo, Farr for Gross, 19 Apr 45; last two in 
OCT HB Gross Hosp and Evac. 

226 Memo, C of Mvmts Div for C of Water Div, 27 
Apr 45, sub: Troopship Utilization, OCT HB Farr 
Staybacks; Memo by Nies, 14 Jan 45, in Mvmt Div 
Histories, OCT HB Mvmt Div Gen. 

227 Hist Med Liaison Off, Sec. 7.00. 

22R Msg, G-4 to Hq COMZONE ETO, 4 May 45, 
WARX 80042. 

22<j yjY) press release, 23 Jul 45, sub: All Trans- 
portable Sick and Wounded in Europe Will Be Home 
by End of July. 




point that permitted the transfer of hospi- 
tal ships from the Atlantic. 230 The Navy's 
troop transports as well as those of the 
Army were used throughout the war. 
Some patients were moved on freighters, 
and airlift also was employed when avail- 
able. Because of the numerous widely scat- 
tered bases, a well-regulated utilization of 
ship hospital spaces was difficult to attain; 
some vessels returned to the United States 
without patients, while others carried sick 
and wounded in excess of their proper 
capacities. 231 The evacuations during 1943 
and 1944 were substantial despite the 
small number of hospital ships in the Pa- 
cific. The peak months for the arrival of 
patients at U.S. Pacific ports were May 
and October 1945, when the number ex- 

ceeded 10,000. 232 By the end of the year 
the evacuation of battle casualties had 
been virtually completed. 

Theater commanders provided the zone 
of interior with full information regarding 
prospective and actual evacuations. They 
dispatched a radiogram on the first of 
each month reporting the number and 
classes of patients awaiting embarkation 
from each port in the theater and the 
number and classes expected to be eligible 
for evacuation within the next thirty 

23o Masterson, U.S. Army Transportation in the 
Southwest Pacific Area, 1941-47, pp. 407-1 1, OCT 
HB Monographs. 

2:11 Memo, Meyer for Farr, 28 Jan 44, OCT HB 
Meyer Staybacks. 

212 Hist Med Liaison Off, Sec. 7.00. 



days. 233 These reports enabled the Chief 
of Transportation and his port command- 
ers to adjust ship schedules to meet evacu- 
ation requirements so far as practicable 
and to insure that the ships were ade- 
quately equipped and supplied; they also 
furnished a basis for advance planning by 
The Surgeon General and the service 
commands for the use of hospital facilities 
in the zone of interior. 

When each ship sailed the theater com- 
mander sent a radio report to the port of 
debarkation giving the number of patients 
of each class on board and the expected 
time of arrival. 234 On the basis of these 
advices, which were forwarded to all in- 
terested offices in Washington, the debar- 
kations were planned, the debarkation 

hospitals to which the patients were to be 
forwarded were determined, the number 
of hospital cars and other railway equip- 
ment needed to move the patients from 
the ports was arranged for, and the service 
commands were requested to provide the 
number of ambulances required to make 
the transfer from ship to train or from ship 
to debarkation hospital. 

2 " Memo, TAG for CGs of Oversea Comds, 16 Sep 
42, sub: Essential Info Concerning Evac, AG 370.05 
(9-15-42). For examples of reports, see Msg, Algiers 
to WD, 1 1 Nov 43, CM-IN 6989 (12 Nov 43), and 
similar messages in OCT 353-370.5 North Africa. 

Memo, CG SOS for TAG, 6 Jan 43, sub: Essen- 
tial Info Concerning Evac, and atchd note for record; 
Memo, TAG for CGs of Oversea Comds, 1 3 Jan 43, 
same sub; both in AG 370.05 (1-6-43). For a time 
these reports were sent by air mail, but deliveries were 
found to be uncertain. 



LITTERS READY TO RECEIVE PATIENTS as a hospital ship arrives at Charleston, 
South Carolina. 

The regulations provided that motor 
vehicles would be used for patients only 
when rail transportation was impractica- 
ble. Nevertheless, ambulances were used 
extensively for moving patients from ship- 
side, because at many ports trains could 
not be brought to the docks and the de- 
barkation hospitals frequently were in or 
near the port areas. Moreover, all railway 
equipment was urgently needed for longer 
hauls where it could be more economically 
utilized. 235 

Until late in the war patients received 
from overseas were not sent to hospitals at 
the port staging areas but were moved 
directly to the general hospitals that had 
been designated debarkation hospitals. 238 

A departure from this rule was made in 
the early summer of 1945 when evacu- 
ation from Europe was especially heavy, 
and temporary debarkation hospitals were 
established in the staging areas of the east 
coast ports. 237 

While patients were at the ports of de- 
barkation, they were under the control of 
the port surgeons. These officers were in 

233 WD Cir 316, 6 Dec 43; WD Cir 87, 28 Feb 44, 
Sec. I; Interv with Maj Farley, 24 Sep 51, OCT HB 
PE Gen Evac of Patients. 

!36 Memo, CofT for PEs, 9 Nov 42, sub: Military 
Hosp and Evac, OCT HB PE Gen Evac of Patients; 
ASF Cir 99, 1 1 Apr 44, Sec. IV. 

237 1st Ind, NYPE For CofT, 18 Jun 45, OCT HB 
TC Gen Redepl; Min of Opns Mtg, 26 Jul 45, OCT 



charge of the medical personnel of the 
ports, and were assisted at shipside by 
teams of enlisted men who were trained in 
handling litters and otherwise helping the 
incapacitated. Until April 1944 there 
was no uniform rule regarding the point 
at which responsibility passed from the 
port to the service command. At that 
time explicit instructions were issued 
providing that, except when otherwise 
agreed, the port surgeon's responsibility 
ceased when the patients were placed in 
ambulances or on trains for removal from 
the docks; control then passed to the 
service command, which staffed the 
conveyances. 238 

Although the bulk of the patients evac- 
uated from oversea areas to the zone of 
interior were transported by water, the 
number transported by air was substan- 
tial — more than 18 percent of the total in 
1944, and more than 22 percent in 1945. 
(See Table /5.] > Air evacuation was speedy 
and it was especially desirable for the crit- 
ically wounded for whom proper treat- 
ment could not be furnished in the the- 
aters. The Chief of Transportation had no 
responsibility for patients evacuated by 
air, but he worked in close co-ordination 
with the Air Transport Command in 
regard to plans and procedures. 239 

Generally speaking, the Army had a 
good record in the evacuation of sick and 
wounded from overseas. As in so many 
other phases of the war effort, the advance 
planning was inadequate for a conflict of 
such scope, and after the United States 
had become a belligerent time was re- 
quired to provide the necessary facilities 
and to work out proper procedures. The 
delay in getting sufficient Convention- 
protected hospital ships into service was 
traceable mainly to the necessity of using 

all available vessels for transporting troops 
to the theaters, and to the heavy commit- 
ments at the shipyards that delayed the 
conversion work after it had been author- 
ized. The reluctance of some medical offi* 
cers in the theaters to utilize the hospital 
spaces on troopships as completely as the 
War Department desired stemmed from 
their differing opinions as to the adequacy 
of the facilities, In its latter stages the 
repatriation of sick and wounded pro- 
ceeded smoothly, and the rapidity with 
which the transportable patients were re- 
moved from the theaters after the end of 
hostilities reflected not only the prepara- 
tions that had been made, but also the 
high importance the Army had attached 
to this task. 

Transportation of Soldiers' Dependents 

An account of the repatriation of mili- 
tary personnel would not be complete 
without a brief discussion of the move- 
ment of their dependents. The transporta- 
tion of large numbers of military depend- 
ents on Army vessels has always been 
fraught with trouble, giving rise to petty 
grievances and numerous complaints. 240 
This was especially true during the war 
and in the early postwar period when 
shipping conditions were abnormal. The 
Transportation Corps would have pre- 
ferred not to handle this civilian traffic 
while heavy troop movements were in 
progress, but Army policy was dictated by 
humanitarian and morale considerations. 

Thousands of military dependents were 
overseas when the United States entered 

238 ASF Cir 99, 1 1 Apr 44, Sec. IV, par. 5. 

- ra Memo, CG ASF for CG AAF, 9 Nov 42, sub: 
"Evac Opns, OCT HB PE Gen Evac of Patients; WD 
Cir 316, 6 Dec 43, pars. 9c and 13*. 

Memo, Wylie for CO NYPE, 29 Apr 46, OCT 
HB Ex Trans of Dependents. 



the war, notwithstanding the fact that the 
War Department in June 1941 had pro- 
hibited further movements of this kind 
and had provided for the return of de- 
pendents in advance of change of station 
by military personnel. 241 Immediately 
after Pearl Harbor the return of depend- 
ents was pressed, but many could not be 
moved promptly and throughout the war 
this traffic continued to require the atten- 
tion of the War Department and the Chief 
of Transportation. 242 It was Army policy 
that the repatriation of dependents should 
be strictly controlled by the theater com- 
manders, who were to establish priorities 
and insure that this traffic did not inter- 
fere with the movement of troops or delay 
the dispatch of troopships. 

Toward the end of the war a new type 
of dependent travel developed — that of 
the so-called war brides. Many American 
soldiers had married while overseas, and 
during 1944 and 1945 demand for the 
movement of their wives and children to 
the United States mounted steadily. 243 
Some were furnished transportation dur- 
ing that period but always subject to the 
general policy regarding dependent travel. 
After V-E Day the movement of war 
brides from Europe, where the great ma- 
jority of them were living, was virtually 
suspended in order to leave all ship space 
available for the redeployment of troops. 
In January 1945 a joint resolution was 
introduced in Congress under which the 
Secretary of War would have been "au- 
thorized and directed" to assign shipping 
space to these passengers. Early in August 
when the passage of this resolution was 
being sought, the Secretary of War pointed 
out that he already had authority to move 
such traffic but that it had been subordi- 
nated to the more important task of get- 
ting troops and military patients back to 

the United States. He indicated also that 
most ships, as a result of their conversion 
for war service, were not suitable for the 
transportation of women and children. 
The Secretary objected to the resolution 
because it would have deprived him of the 
"freedom of action" necessary to insure 
that the movement of dependents did not 
interfere with the war effort. 244 Congress 
took cognizance of these arguments and 
did not pass the resolution. 

As a result of public and Congressional 
pressure, the foundation for the program 
of transporting war brides was laid in 
1945, although the main movement did 
not begin until early 1946 after the bulk of 
the troops had been repatriated. Congress 
authorized the expenditure of public 
funds for the transportation of these pas- 
sengers "by government or commercial 
means"; President Truman issued an 
executive order; and the Army published 
rules to implement the directives. 245 
The Army rules indicated that the trans- 
portation of dependents would still be 
subordinated to military requirements 

241 Ltr, SW to Rep Merlin Hull, 5 Mar 41, OSW 
Trans 501-800; Memo, ACofS G-4 for CofS, 19 Apr 
41, G-4/24499-178; Memos, TAG for CGs All 
Armies, et al., 7 Jun 41, sub: Trans of Dependents and 
Household Goods to Oversea Stations, AG 541.1 (5- 
26-41), and 24 Sep 41, sub: Trans of Dependents and 
Household Goods to Alaska, AG 541.1 (9-9-41). 

Memo, ACofS G-4 for Cs of Supply Services, 18 
Dec 41, G-4/24499-178; Memo, TAG for Theater 
Comdrs, el al., 23 Nov 44, sub: Return of Dependents, 
AG 510 (23 Oct 44). 

2 " Ltr, Farr to Col Donald S. McConnaughy, OCT 
ETOUSA, 30 Jan 45, OCT HB Farr Staybacks. The 
shipment of war brides from Australia started as early 
as April 44; see Masterson, U.S. Army Transporta- 
tion in the Southwest Pacific Area, 194 1-47, pp. 301- 
06, OCT HB Monographs. 

244 H.J. Res. 28, January 3, 1945; 79th Cong., 1st 
Sess., Ltr, SW to Rep Andrew J. May, Chm House 
Com on Mil Affairs, 3 Aug 45, G-4 510, Vol. III. 

215 PL 126, 79th Cong., 1st Sess., July 3, 1945; EO 
9587, July 6, 1945, Fed. Reg., July 10, 1945; WD Cir 
245, 1 1 Aug 45; WD Cir 294, 27 Sep 46. 



and would be strictly controlled by the 
oversea commanders. The ships to be 
used, in the order of preference, were 
those operated by the Army and the Navy, 
vessels of the War Shipping Administra- 
tion, other American vessels, and vessels 
of foreign registry. War brides were to 
receive not only ocean transportation but 
also inland transportation to their future 

During the fall of 1945 the Chief of 
Transportation made a careful study of 
the war bride problem, including the 
probable volume of the traffic, ways of 
avoiding interference with troop move- 
ments, and preparation of troopships to 
more suitably accommodate large num- 
bers of women and children, ~ 1!i In Jan- 
uary 1946 the War Department an- 
nounced that it had arranged for vessels 
to move more than 60,000 dependents 
from Europe by the end of June, and 
about 6,000 from Australia and New 
Zealand. 247 It indicated that the plans 
had been made on the basis of information 
obtained from the theaters, but that data 
regarding the number of dependents 
awaiting transportation and the dates of 
their readiness were still undependable. 
While it was believed that the great 
majority could be accommodated during 
the next six months, it seemed probable 
that the movement would continue much 
longer. Simultaneously the War Depart- 
ment issued a standing operating proce- 
dure to govern the processing and trans- 
portation of war brides in the theaters, on 
the ships, and after their arrival in the 
United States. 248 

About thirty vessels were designated to 
handle this special traffic, and such 
changes were made in their facilities as 
were necessary for the new types of pas- 
sengers. The majority of these vessels were 

Army troopships or hospital ships; eight 
were War Shipping Administration troop- 
ships. 249 The British agreed that the Queen 
Mary should carry war brides on her west- 
bound trips until May, and because of her 
large capacity — up to 2,500 dependents— 
and quick turnaround this ship had an 
important role in the undertaking. 850 

The first ship to arrive from Europe 
under the program was the Argentina, 
which docked at New York on 4 February 
1946 with more than 600 dependents. 
The first ships carrying war brides from 
New Zealand and Australia were the 
Monterey and the Mariposa, which arrived 
at San Francisco almost simultaneously in 
early March with a total of more than 
1,600 brides and children. Dependents 
moved from other areas were accommo- 
dated in smaller numbers on such vessels 
as offered suitable accommodations. The- 
ater commanders were instructed not to 
embark dependents on freighters unless 
they were the only vessels available, since 
freighters often docked at U.S. ports 
where the Army was not prepared to 
handle passengers properly. 2 " 

The preparation of vessels to carry war 
brides required attention to many details, 
some of which were without precedent in 
Army experience. The military comple- 
ments on the vessels were augmented with 
additional medical personnel, nurses, 

3 « Memo, CofT for OPD, 1 6 Oct 45, sub: Return 
of Dependents, OCT HB Farr Stay backs. 

WD press release, 18 Jan 46, OCT HB PE Gen 

2 " 8 Memo, TAG for PEs, Theaters, el at., 19 Jan 46, 
sub: SOP for Trans of Dependents from Overseas, 
AGMP-M 510 (17 Jan 46). 

24 " J Charles, Troopships of World War II, p. 361. 

250 Concerning the arrangement for the Queen Mary, 
see Vv'ardlow, op, cit. J p. 'I'll. I 

251 Memo, CofT for CG NYPE, 18 Mar 46; Ltr, 
WSA to OCT, 20 Mar 46; both in OCT 510 De- 



Wacs, and Red Cross workers. Cribs, high 
chairs, play pens, and baby baths were 
added to the equipment. Special laundry 
and ironing facilities were installed for the 
use of the women. A varied supply of 
baby foods was placed in the ships' store- 
rooms, and numerous items that were 
not required on ships in troop service 
were added to the sales commissaries. 
Since at least 25 percent of the depend- 
ents were expected to be infants, it was 
decided that disposable diapers would 
have to be used, but as the Argentina was 
preparing to sail on her first trip the deci- 
sion had not yet been made whether 
diapers would be furnished at government 
expense or whether they would be placed 
on sale. 252 This was one of many minor 
but vexing questions. 

While the number of dependents 
placed on a ship was restricted in order to 
avoid any semblance of crowding, and 
berthing was not more than two-high, 
certain features remained that were remi- 
niscent of the troopship. The large com- 
partments were still there, and while an 
effort was made to place mothers with 
children in cabins, this could not always 
be done. Although waiters were provided 
to serve meals to mothers with children, 
other women were required to serve them- 
selves in cafeteria style. Because of the 
limited number of stewards and steward- 
esses available, dependents were required 
to make their own beds and clean their 
quarters. This did not prove to be a felici- 
tous arrangement, since some women 
were either too seasick or too careless to 
do their work properly. The transport 
commanders were directed to give the 
women proper guidance regarding the life 
on board as well as the procedures they 
would encounter on debarkation, but the 
attempted "orientation" was not very 

successful so far as the ocean voyage was 
concerned. 253 

As was to be expected, many com- 
plaints resulted from the transportation of 
war brides on troopships. The women and 
their husbands did not want to wait until 
more suitable accommodations became 
available, but many were unhappy about 
the treatment received. There were com- 
plaints that the ships were unfit for 
women and children, that they were too 
crowded, that there were not enough 
stewards and stewardesses, that the ships' 
personnel was unskilled and discourteous, 
that the life on board was too regimented, 
and so on. The Transportation Corps en- 
deavored to provide for the needs of these 
war brides and to make their first contacts 
with things American a happy one, but 
the attendant circumstances were not 
favorable. Ocean travel was still affected 
by conditions imposed by the war. 

The chief concern of those responsible 
for the transportation of war brides and 
their children was to avoid epidemic. This 
was a danger because of the presence of so 
many infants and the fact that most of the 
women were young and without experi- 
ence in ocean travel. When a mother be- 
came seasick her standards of cleanliness, 
even in the care of her child, were likely 
to suffer. The nurses could give super- 
vision, but there were not enough of them 
to undertake direct child care. Arrange- 
ments were made for women who were 

-~>' : Memo, CofT for CG NYPE, 9 Jan 46, sub: Spe- 
cial Items for War Bride Program; Memo, CofT for 
CG SFPE, 1 1 Jan 46, sub: Supplies and Standards for 
War Bride Program; Memo, CofT for CG SPE, 1 1 
Feb 46, sub: Additional Provisions Aboard Vessels 
Carrying Dependents; all in OCT 510 Dependents. 

25! An INS dispatch from Sydney, Australia, re- 
ported that the crew of a WSA ship had threatened to 
strike because the ship was "a floating slum." The 
Washington Post, August 28, 1946, "MP's Quiet Crew 
on GI Bride Ship." 



traveling alone to take care of the children 
of mothers who fell ill, but here again sea- 
sickness and inexperience presented haz- 
ards. No serious trouble was encountered 
until the May voyage of the ^ebulon B. 
Vance. The outbreak of a disease described 
as infectious diarrhea of the newborn re- 
sulted in nineteen infants being hospital- 
ized when the ship reached New York, 
and the ultimate death of six of them. 
Three other infants from this ship were 
reported to have died later. Following an 
investigation by a board of inquiry, the 
War Department directed that thereafter 
no infants under six months of age should 
be transported from Europe and that not 
more than 25 percent of the passengers on 
any ship should be under six years of age. 
The restrictions were not made applicable 
to other areas because of the small num- 
ber of dependents yet to be embarked. 
The inquiry into the Vance case disclosed 
that some of the infants had been ill while 
awaiting embarkation at Le Havre, and 
oversea commanders accordingly were in- 
structed to give close scrutiny to the phys- 
ical condition of both women and chil- 
dren when they arrived at the ports. Some 
changes were made in ships' facilities and 
procedures. The board of inquiry did not 
find that the Army had been negligent; on 
the other hand, it found evidence of gross 
carelessness on the part of some of the 
mothers during the voyage. 254 

Not all the problems encountered were 
on shipboard; the ports of embarkation 
and debarkation also had to develop new 
facilities and procedures and deal with 
unusual situations. Several days before a 
ship was to sail, war brides and their chil- 
dren were summoned to an assembly area 
near the port of embarkation. There they 
were given medical examinations, their 
papers were checked for errors or omis- 

sions, their baggage was inspected, and 
their local money was converted into 
American currency. 255 During this period 
of processing the needs of the women and 
children had to be met as they arose, and 
many a soldier found himself detailed to 
a task that was entirely new in his 

A persistent problem was to get the 
travelers to arrive at the ports at the time 
scheduled — neither too early nor too 
late — and to avoid having assembly areas 
overrun with relatives that might interfere 
with the processing. The U.S. 14th Major 
Port at Southampton, England, which 
embarked most of the British brides, 
maintained two assembly areas — one at 
the military post of Tidworth, and an- 
other at a large hotel in Bournemouth. 
The U.S. 16th Major Port at Le Havre, 
which handled most of the Continental 
brides, processed them at Camp Philip 
Morris, familiar to many soldiers as a 
troop staging area. The same procedures 
were followed at all ports of embarkation 
whether the number of dependents to be 
shipped was large or small. The theaters 
were expected to provide the ports of 
destination with full information regard- 
ing the passengers on each ship so that 
plans could be made in advance for the 
debarkation and forwarding of the travel- 
ers, but as in the case of homeward-bound 
troopships the reports were often delayed 
or incomplete. 

At the ports of debarkation the war 

-"Transport Surgeon's Report of Voyage 3, 21 
May 46, OCT 569.1 Z^ulon B. Vance; Memo, SG for 
CofT, 31 May 46, sub: War Bride Program, OCT 510 
Dependents' Complaints; The New York Times, June 
6, 1946, p. 23; WD press release, 7 Jun 46, OCT HB 
PE Gen Dependents; Ltr, SW to Rep Henry M. Jack- 
son, 17 Jun 46, OCT 510 Dependents' Complaints. 

jjp Memo, SOP for Trans of Dependents, cited n. 



brides and their children were carefully 
organized so that they might be cleared 
by immigration, health, and customs of- 
ficials with as little delay as possible. Hus- 
bands were encouraged to wait for their 
brides at their home towns rather than to 
meet them at the ports. 258 The usual plan 
was to transfer the passengers from the 
piers directly to the trains by which they 
were to proceed to their destinations, with- 
out any staging at the ports. When large 
groups of dependents traveled on the same 
train, a train commander was provided 
and Red Cross personnel was assigned to 
accompany them. In addition to notifying 
the husbands when to expect their wives, 
the ports of debarkation notified the serv- 
ice commands through which the trains 
would pass. A special officer was desig- 
nated by each service commander to give 
attention to the affairs of dependents en 
route, and these officers were able to pro- 
vide helpful assistance, especially at points 
where transfers were made from one train 
to another. 287 The Red Cross performed a 
useful service throughout. 

In the early stages of the movement 
trains carrying large numbers of war 
brides created a problem in public rela- 
tions for the Army. Press reporters and 
photographers went aboard at many sta- 
tion stops, and sometimes were overper- 
sistent in their efforts to obtain stories for 
their publications. Believing that the rail- 
roads might be encouraging the practice, 
the Chief of Transportation requested the 
carriers to control the situation so far as 
possible. The service commanders were 
instructed that, without interfering with 
orderly news coverage, all agencies of the 
War Department should endeavor to pro- 
tect war brides from embarrassment and 
the violation of their privacy. 2 ™ 

As had been anticipated, the movement 

of war brides was far from complete at the 
end of June, and the ships specially 
designated to transport them continued in 
this service for several months thereafter. 
Early in September 1946, the Chief of 
Transportation announced that the num- 
ber of dependents to be moved across the 
Pacific had been reduced to a point where 
the further assignment of troopships to 
this special traffic was no longer necessary. 
Two months later the same action was 
taken with regard to the Atlantic. Com- 
mercial ship space was then becoming 
more plentiful. 259 

Up to 4 September 1946 war brides 
and children brought to the United States 
had totaled 56,214. That total included 
41,502 adults and 14,712 infants; 48,408 
were transported across the Atlantic and 
7,806 across the Pacific. 280 During the 
year 1946 the total movement of depend- 
ents to the United States was 64,229; the 
peak month was April, when more than 
16,000 were debarked. 261 The 1946 figures 
include some dependents other than war 
brides and their children, but these excep- 
tions constituted a very small percentage 
of the whole. 

In the meantime the movement of mili- 
tary dependents from the United States to 
oversea areas had been resumed. 262 In the 

" 6 WD press release, 26 Mar 46, OCT HB PE Gen 

257 Memo, SOP for the Trans of Dependents, cited 
n. 248. 

258 Ltr, Col Messcrsmith, OCT, to IMC, 25 Feb 46;, 
Memo, CofT for TAG, 15 Mar 46; both in OCT 510 

259 TC Weekly News Letter, 4 Sep 46; WD press 
release, 18 Nov 46; both in OCT HB PE Gen De- 

280 TC Weekly News Letter, cited n. 259. 

261 Data compiled for statistical volume of this series 
from monthly rpts, Recapitulation of Passengers De- 
barked, submitted by PEs to CofT. 

262 WD Cir 98, 30 Mar 46, gave the rules and pro- 



spring of 1946 ships that had been hastily 
prepared for war brides were used for this 
traffic, although passengers were warned 
that the vessels were in no sense "luxury 
liners." 263 Later in that year transports 
reconditioned for the Army's postwar fleet 
began to enter service, and they were 
much better equipped to accommodate 
women and children. In August 1946 the 
number of dependents embarked for over- 
sea destinations exceeded for the first time 
in the postwar period the number trans- 
ported to the United States. Yet many 
women who desired to follow their hus- 
bands were not permitted to do so at 
once. 264 The readiness of the Army to per- 
mit families to join soldiers of the oversea 
forces depended not only on the availabil- 
ity of suitable transportation but also on 
conditions in the foreign countries. Hous- 
ing was a serious postwar problem in most 
places, and the Army would not author- 
ize the departure of families until it was 
assured that the areas of destination could 
accommodate them. 2 " 5 

During the period when the movement 
of war brides was getting under way an 
officer who had been wrestling with the 
problems remarked that it was a simpler 
matter to move a division of troops with 
all their equipment than a shipload of de- 
pendents. This was a graphic way of ex- 
pressing an attitude regarding dependent 
travel in general that was shared by many 
of his colleagues. The transportation of 
women and children involves arrange- 
ments and procedures quite different 
from those employed in the movement of 
troops. Beyond that, ships that had re- 
ceived only minor rehabilitation after 
being in wartime troop service were not 
suitable for this traffic. Complaints by the 
wives and protests from the husbands 
were inevitable. Yet the War Department 

doubtless would have been subjected to 
even greater criticism if it had endeavored 
to delay this traffic until the conditions 
were more propitious. 

Repatriation of the War Dead 

Although the over- all responsibility for 
the evacuation of the war dead from over- 
sea areas and their reburial in the United 
States rested with The Quartermaster 
General, the Chief of Transportation 
worked closely with him in arranging for 
the movement of the remains by water 
and by land. 266 The Quartermaster Gen- 
eral, as chief of the American Graves 
Registration Service, had supervision over 
the return of the remains of all Americans 
who had died overseas during World War 
II. The total fatalities were estimated at 
359,000. Of this number, 280,835 remains 
had been recovered up to 30 June 1951; 
170,752 had been returned to the United 
States, 109,866 had been buried in per- 
manent U.S. cemeteries overseas in ac- 
cordance with instructions from next of 
kin, and the remainder had been buried 
elsewhere. 367 The first shipments of re- 
mains to reach U.S. ports under the 

263 WD press releases, 12 Mar and 9 Apr 46; 
Memo, C of Water Trans Sv OCT for GofT, 25 Apr 
46, sub: Dependent Vessels; all in OCT HB Wylie 

sai WD Progress Rpt, Sec. 3- A, 3 I Jan 47, p. 7, 

265 Interv with Lt Col Horace F. McFeely, C of 
Mvmts Contl Br OCT, 28 Oct 46, OCT HB PE Gen 

2S6 QMC Historical Studies, 2 1 , The Graves Registra- 
tion Service in World War II (Washington, 195 1 ) ; Erna 
Risch and Chester L. Kieffer, The Quartermaster Corps: 
Organization, Supply, and Services, Vol. II, UNITED 
ton, 1955), Ch. XII. 

261 Risch and Kieffer, op. cit., Ch. XII, pp. 402-04. 



repatriation program arrived in October 
1947. Arrivals during the years 1947-50 
were as follows: 2 6S 


Year of Remains 

1947 13,612 

1948 101,117 

1949 51,073 

1950 4,347 

In the early planning the Chief of 
Transportation had contemplated that 
most remains would be returned in mor- 
tuary ships specially equipped and de- 
voted entirely to that purpose. The plan 
called for ten modified Liberty ships, 
previously used for the transportation of 
assembled aircraft and tanks, to be pre- 
pared as mortuary ships by installing 
racks to accommodate from 6,500 to 7,000 
caskets. In addition, six small vessels were 
to be similarly prepared with a capacity 
for about 160 caskets and used on short 
voyages within the theaters. 289 Actually, 
only three special mortuary ships were 
placed in service. It was found that by 
careful stowage the remains could be 
transported without special racks, and 
this meant that any ship could be used 
that was in a position to load at one of the 
oversea ports where remains were con- 
centrated. 270 

Since special facilities and handling 
methods were required, there was an ad- 
vantage in using as few receiving ports as 
possible; the plan therefore provided that 
all shipments in the Atlantic would be 
landed at New York and all shipments in 
the Pacific at San Francisco. At each port 
installation, space was set aside and adap- 
ted for the storage of remains awaiting 
shipment to the inland distribution cen- 
ters. The port commanders at New York 
and San Francisco also provided facilities 

and operated distribution centers for re- 
mains that were destined for cemeteries in 
their respective areas. 

The transportation of remains from the 
ports of debarkation to the inland distri- 
bution centers was accomplished so far as 
possible with special mortuary cars 
equipped with racks and capable of tak- 
ing from fifty to sixty-six caskets. The 
Chief of Transportation provided 1 18 such 
cars by converting Army hospital cars 
that were not required after the heavy 
movement of patients was over. Since the 
remains usually arrived at the ports in 
large shipments, it frequently was possible 
to make up entire trains of mortuary cars. 
The regular services of the railroads were 
used on the occasions when only a few 
remains were to be shipped. 271 

From the distribution centers remains 
were forwarded to the places of interment. 
All shipments to and from distribution 
centers were accompanied by military 
escorts of the branch of the service to 
which the deceased had belonged. The 
escorts stayed with the remains until they 
had been delivered to the next of kin, or 
until burial if so requested. In most cases 
the escorts were the only representatives 
of the military services to have personal 

Statistical Yearbook of the Quartermaster 
Corps, 1950, p. 105. 

269 Memo. CofT for CG ASF, 1 1 Mar 46, sub: 
Status of Ping— Repatriation of Dead, OCT 518, Vol. 
1; Memo, Col Kenneth W. Gillespie for Wylie, 18 
Apr 46, OCT HB PE Gen Return of Dead. 

2 "' Interv with Edgar C. Seward, 26 Sep 51, OCT 
HB PE Gen Return of Dead. Mr. Seward, as a mem- 
ber of the Water Division, OCT, was charged with 
the supervision of these matters on behalf of the Chief 
of Transportation. 

57 1 Terms for transporting remains in mortuary cars 
or baggage cars are given in tender by the carriers; 
Return to Destination in U.S. of Remains of Amer- 
ican Dead from Overseas Battle Areas, 3 Sep 47, 
OCT HB PE Gen Return of Dead. 



contact with relatives of the deceased and 
their task was a delicate one. Conse- 
quently, they were selected with care and 
were given special training to prepare 
them for their mission. 272 

Results Under Pressure 

The period between the surrender of 
Germany and the end of 1 945 was one of 
especially heavy pressure on the Chief of 
Transportation. He was under pressure to 
obtain enough ocean transport to effect 
first a quick redeployment of troops from 
Europe to the Pacific and then a hurried 
repatriation from all oversea areas. He 
was under pressure throughout this period 
and even into the next year to obtain 
sufficient rail transportation to move re- 
turning troops promptly from the ports of 
debarkation, and particularly to provide 
sleeping car accommodations for those 
making long trips. 

The Army had done a comprehensive 
job of planning for redeployment and 
demobilization. It had made provision for 
the facilities and procedures needed to re- 
ceive returning troops and process them 
for further assignments or for mustering 
out of the service. The Chief of Transpor- 
tation had made effective arrangements 
for accomplishing the change-over from a 
heavy outbound movement to a heavy 
homeward movement of troops and 
equipment. Precautions had been taken 
against the withdrawal of troopships from 
military service after V-E Day, and the 
extent to which captured German vessels 
might be used had been explored. But the 
Chief of Transportation had relied on the 
rail carriers to make the required amount 
of equipment available as they had done 
previously without having a definite 
agreement with the Director of Defense 

Transportation, and this proved to be a 

The mobilization of shipping for rede- 
ployment and repatriation was accom- 
plished speedily. There were virtually no 
commercial passenger services in opera- 
tion at that time so that all merchant- 
type vessels could be devoted to the re- 
quirements of the armed forces. After V-J 
Day many combatant vessels became 
available for use in repatriating military 
personnel. The collaboration of the Army, 
the Navy, and the War Shipping Admin- 
istration toward the achievement of early 
demobilization was excellent. More troops 
were landed at United States ports in one 
month (December 1945) than had been 
dispatched overseas in any three-month 
period during the war. 

The circumstances affecting the trans- 
portation of troops after their debarkation 
at U.S. ports were less propitious. Civilian 
traffic, which had not been greatly re- 
stricted during the war, continued to com- 
pete with troop traffic for rail service. The 
expectation of the Chief of Transporta- 
tion that enough rail equipment would be 
diverted from regular passenger services 
to meet the increased military require- 
ments was not at once realized, chiefly 
because the Director of Defense Transpor- 
tation and the military authorities had 
reached no understanding in advance and 
held differing views on the subject. It can 
scarcely be said that there ever was an 
"understanding" between them on this 
point, but gradually more and more rail- 
road equipment was assigned to troop 

■'"WD Pamphlet 21-40, July 1947, sub: Mil 
Escorts — Return of WW II Dead; Memo, TAG for 
CG Sixth Army, 1 Aug 47, sub: Pers Reqmts— WW 
II Dead Program; Memo, TAG for CGs All Armies, 
et al, 20 Feb 48; last two in OCT 293.1 Escorts. 



traffic until four fifths of the sleepers and a 
third of the steel coaches were so em- 
ployed. In the late months of 1945 the 
military traffic moved from Pacific coast 
ports was limited by the line-haul capac- 
ity of the railroads rather than by equip- 

Because the public wanted the speediest 
possible demobilization and the War De- 
partment had accepted this as a criterion, 
judgment as to the success of the operation 
must take into account first the fact that 

the rate of repatriation and demobiliza- 
tion exceeded the expectation of even the 
most optimistic Army officers. On the 
other hand, it cannot be doubted that 
credit for that success was somewhat 
dimmed by the Army's failure to have a 
clear-cut understanding regarding the 
provision of additional rail equipment 
and to regulate the flow of troops into the 
debarkation ports to conform to the ar- 
rangements that the rail, motor, and air 
carriers had made to move them inland. 


Freight Movements 
in the United States 

Between Pearl Harbor and the end of 
1945, Army freight shipped over the trans- 
portation systems of the United States 
totaled mo re than 340,000,000 tons. 
(Table 16) This was a colossal load to 

move under the supervision of a single 
agency, the Office of the Chief of Trans- 
portation. During 1944, the year of 
heaviest traffic, more than 105,000,000 
tons were moved, as compared with 11,- 
224,000 tons for which the Army issued 
transportation orders during the fiscal 
year 1919, when World War I traffic was 
at its peak. ] 

The volume of Army freight traffic was 
influenced primarily by the number of 
men in the service, for whether the troops 
were in the zone of interior or in the thea- 
ters of operations they had to be fed, 
clothed, equipped, and otherwise pro- 
vided for, mainly with supplies produced 
in the United States. A secondary influ- 
ence was exercised by strategic develop- 
ments that might call for especially heavy 
shipments during periods of military crisis. 
Yet another factor was the amount of ma- 
teriel that the War Department procured 
for shipment to Allied countries under the 
international aid programs. From a total 
of about 1,600,000 tons in December 
1941, the first month of the war, Army 

shipments increased to a monthly peak of 
10,900,000 tons in March 1945, when the 
requirements of the forces in Europe 
were still heavy and the build-up of 
strength in the Pacific was being pushed 
as rapidly as resources would permit. 
These figures comprehend only shipments 
made on War Department bills of lading; 
they do not include shipments moved on 
commercial bills of lading, such as raw 
materials and components used in the 
manufacture of military items and ship- 
ments by contractors working on con- 
struction projects for the Army. 

The Chief of Transportation's task in 
connection with freight movements was 
heightened not only by the growing vol- 
ume but also by many other circum- 
stances inherent in the wartime transpor- 
tation situation. The over-all increase in 
traffic, which was substantially more than 
100 percent in the case of rail and motor 
carriers, put a heavy strain on both facil- 
ities and manpower and increased the 
probability of delay, damage, or loss. 2 

1 Annual Report of the Chief of Transportation Service, 
1919, p. 67. Domestic traffic is measured in short tons 
(2,000 pounds). 

2 Volume of traffic, equipment, and manpower are 
discussed at some length in Wardlow, The Transporta- 
tion Corp s: Responsibilities, Organization, and Operations, 
|Ch. IX.| 



Table 16 — Freight Shipped on War Department Bills of Lading by Army Procuring 
Services and Commanders of Troop Organizations: December 1941-December 
194S a 

(Short Tons) 











340, 021,413 

1,617, 953 

50,927, 653 

88, 271,978 

105, 014, 009 

94, 189, 820 



3, 687, 408 

8, 761, 867 

13, 544, 457 

10, 232, 280 

Chemical Warfare Service . , 


14, 699 

1, 041, 469 

1, 689, 745 

2, 463, 230 

1, 844, 270 

63, 694, 700 

29, 528 

9, 829, 027 

21,085, 233 

18, 032, 922 

14,717, 990 

Medical Department .... 

- 1,761,210 



692, 080 

588, 320 


Ordnance Department .... 

123, 898, 664 

710, 187 

17, 935,347 


39, 390, 435 

31,907, 100 

Quartermaster Corps .... 

79, 899, 566 

662, 926 

14, 728, 912 

16, 309, 451 


26, 932, 780 

5, 569, 413 


608, 375 

1, 436, 494 

1, 941, 104 

1, 563, 540 

Transportation Corps .... 

- 2, 510, 930 




« 704, 800 

1, 806, 130 

Organizational Moves b . . . 

3,092, 134 

35, 367 

700, 339 

1, 117, 430 

976, 308 

262, 690 


16, 224, 954 

54, 929 

2, 396, 776 


6, 136, 936 


» Materiel of the Medical Department was included with"Other" through December 1942, and that of the Transportation Corps through 
June 1944. 

b Supplies and equipment accompanying troop organizations. 

• In addition to the Medical Department and the Transportation Corps materiel included in certain years, this class embraced materiel 
of The Adjutant General and the Fiscal Director, post exchange supplies, personal property, and supplies shipped overseas for civilian aid. 

Source: Monthly compilations of the Transport Economics Section, Traffic Control Division, OCT, reworked for a statistical volume of 
this series. 

Army materiel included many items of 
unusual size or composition that required 
special handling and loading techniques. 
Careful attention had to be given to rout- 
ing, packing, marking, and documenta- 
tion to insure prompt and safe delivery. 
Provision had to be made for the econom- 
ical movement of the Army's growing vol- 
ume of less-than-carload shipments. The 
rates and classifications of the carriers 
were based on peacetime traffic and there- 
fore required many adjustments to fulfill 
the Army's wartime needs. A system to 
control the flow of military and civilian 
freight to the ports and through the 
important inland gateways in such a way 
as to avoid congestion and delay had to be 
developed by the Army in conjunction 
with the other federal agencies concerned. 

Measures to meet these problems were 
initiated during 1940 and 1941 when 
transportation was a responsibility of The 
Quartermaster General, but much re- 
mained to be accomplished after that 
responsibility passed to the newly created 
Chief of Transportation in March 1942. 

The Chief of Transportation was re- 
sponsible for the "direction, supervision, 
and co-ordination of all transportation by 
common carrier (except air carrier)." 3 
The fulfillment of this responsibility with 
respect to movements was charged to the 
Traffic Control Division; the Rail and 
Highway Divisions gave attention to the 

3 AR 55-5, 5 Oct 42, par. 3a. The Chief of Trans- 
portation was also responsible for the use of contract 



carriers' needs for additional equipment 
and personnel; and a general co-ordinat- 
ing supervision was exercised by the 
Director of Operations. 4 

This discussion of Army freight move- 
ments in the United States relates only to 
the freight shipments moved by common 
and contract carriers on War Department 
bills of lading. Some supplies were moved 
in motor vehicles assigned to troop units 
and Army installations, and some by util- 
ity railroad equipment operated on mili- 
tary reservations. Such traffic was small, 
however, compared with that which 
moved over the commercial transporta- 
tion systems of the country, and it was 
under the control of the commanders of 
the respective units and installations, not 
of the Chief of Transportation." 1 

Characteristics of Army Freight Traffic 

Military shipments differed from com- 
mercial traffic in certain important re- 
spects, and the differences were responsi- 
ble for some of the problems that 
confronted the Chief of Transportation 
and the carriers during the war. In many 
cases it was necessary to formulate new 
procedures and to develop new handling 
techniques to solve the problems. At all 
times the differences necessitated close co- 
operation between the Army and the car- 
riers and between the Chief of Transpor- 
tation in Washington and the transporta- 
tion officers in the field. 

Shipments of Army freight had many 
points of origin and many destinations. 
This was a consequence of the large num- 
ber of manufacturing plants, depots, 
transit storage points, training camps, and 
ports of embarkation that contributed to 
the war effort. A calculation made in the 

Traffic Control Division of the carloads of 
freight shipped on War Department bills 
of lading during the last five months of 
1944 gave the percentage relationship of 
the number of cars shipped from the 
various types of establishments as follows: 7 

Establishment Percent 

Total 100.0 

Commercial industrial plants 48.0 

Army depots 26.4 

Army-owned industrial plants 10.9 

Holding and reconsignment points 2.1 

Commercial warehouses 2.0 

Army-Navy consolidating stations 1.3 

Miscellaneous Army installations 9.3 

The fact that so large a percentage orig- 
inated at commercial industrial plants, 
where the shipping personnel was not 
under the direct control of the Army, gives 
an indication of the problems involved in 
enforcing the Army's standards of car 
utilization and its procedures relating to 
packing, marking, and documentation. 

An analysis of Army freight transporta- 
tion in the United States during the first 
six months of 1945 disclosed that about 
two thirds of it was furnished in connection 
with shipments to domestic destinations, 
while about one third was furnished in 
connection with shipments to the ports for 

4 See above, [Ch. I, pp. 14-15J for the officers in 
charge of these divisions. 

s Although air freight traffic will he referred to from 
time to time, such traffic was controlled by the Army 
Air Forces, not by the Chief of Transportation. 

G Although some of the data used in presenting the 
characteristics of Army freight are taken from special 
studies dealing with limited periods rather than with 
the whole of World War II, they have a sufficiently 
broad base to give them significance. 

7 Study by Transport Economics Section, Types of 
Establishments From Which War Department Car- 
load Freight Is Moved, 8 Mar 45, OCT HB Traf 
Contl Div Freight. The estimates were made from a 
"representative sample" of War Department bills of 
lading that accounted for 1,365,000 carloads of freight 
and were therefore considered reasonably accurate. 



export. The study that produced these fig- 
ures was based on ton-miles of transporta- 
tion and hence took into account length of 
haul as well as tons shipped; the data 
therefore cannot be compared with those 
given in the preceding paragraph. The 
study indicated that 67.3 percent of the 
total ton-miles was accounted for by ship- 
ments from industries, 25.5 percent by 
shipments from storage, and 7.2 percent by 
shipments from other origins such as 
Army posts and camps, consolidating sta- 
tions, salvage centers, and ports. 8 The 
analysis of shipments by origins and 
destinations was as follows: 

Service Commands 


Origin and Destination 

. 100.0 

Industries to domestic destinations 51.1 

Industries to ports for export 16.2 

Storage points to domestic destinations 8.6 

Storage points to ports for export 16.9 

Other origins to domestic destinations 5.9 

Other origins to ports for export 1 .3 

The origins of Army freight shipments 
were well distributed geographically. Sta- 
tistics are available only for carload rail 
shipments, but such freight constituted 
about 88 percent of the total. For the 
period 1942-45 the Fifth and Sixth Serv- 
ice Commands, embracing large Midwest 
producing areas, each originated 16 per- 
cent of the total carloads shipped on War 
Department bills of lading; the Ninth 
Service Command, which included the 
Pacific coast and mountain states, orig- 
inated 12.2 percent of the total. The pro- 
portion of freight originated in the Ninth 
Service Command increased substantially 
during this period — that is, from slightly 
less than 10 percent in 1942 to 14.1 per- 
cent in 1944. The following carloads orig- 
inated in the respective service commands 
during the four years 1942-45: 9 

I 217,058 

II 925,980 

III 1,106,679 

IV 1,146,823 

V 1,558,546 

VI 1,535,528 

VII 958,844 

VIII 1,012,914 

IX 1,182,654 



The destinations of Army freight also 
were well distributed. Comparison of the 
above percentages of total carloads 
shipped by rail in the several service com- 
mands with the percentages for destina- 
tions, given below, discloses that the First, 
Second, Third, and Ninth Service Com- 
mands, in which the principal Atlantic 
and Pacific ports of embarkation were lo- 
cated, received substantially more than 
they shipped. The Fourth and Eighth 
Service Commands, which embraced 
large numbers of training camps and 
therefore were heavy consumers of sup- 
plies, also received more than they 
shipped. The large percentage destined 
for the Ninth Service Command reflects 
the fact that all Pacific coast ports, as well 
as numerous training camps, were in that 
area. The carloads of freight shipped dur- 
ing the four-year period 1942-45, classi- 
fied according to the service commands 

8 ASF MPR, Nov 45, Sec. 3, p. 4. The analysis also 
covered the months July-November 1945, but these 
months were not typical of the war period. 

9 Summarized from data compiled in Transport 
Economics Section, Traffic Control Division, OCT, 
reworked on a state-by-state basis for a statistical 
volume of this series. The Transport Economics Sec- 
tion, which originated most of the statistics used in 
this chapter, obtained the data from bills of lading by 
a sampling process rather than by a complete study of 
the document; the Traffic Control Division was con- 
vinced that the data so obtained were substantially 



for which the shipments were destined, 
are as follows: 10 

Service Commands Carloads Percent 

Total 9,645,026 100.0 

I 289,346 3.0 

II 1,425,844 14.8 

III 1,357,900 14.1 

IV 1,318,784 13.7 

V 872,549 9.0 

VI 608,699 6.3 

VII 777,31 1 8.1 

VIII 1,026,784 10.6 

IX 1,967,809 20.4 

While much Army materiel was similar 
to and could be handled in the same man- 
ner as commercial freight, many items 
required special attention either because 
of their characteristics or because of the 
urgency of the movements. Supplies and 
equipment of the Ordnance Department 
constituted 36.4 percent of the total ton- 
nage shipped; its tanks, armored vehicles, 
trucks, and artillery required great num- 
bers of flatcars, while its live ammunition 
and bulk explosives called for special han- 
dling and security measures. Materiel of 
the Quartermaster Corps, which ac- 
counted for 23.5 percent of the total 
tonnage, included a large proportion of 
packaged supplies and therefore did not 
differ greatly from commercial freight. 
The equipment and supplies of the Corps 
of Engineers, comprising 18.7 percent of 
the total tonnage, included bulky and 
hard-to-handle items. Shipments of the 
Air Forces, making up 10.6 percent of the 
total, included many intricate and del- 
icate assemblies that required careful 
handling and in some cases specially 
equipped cars. The radar and other tech- 
nical equipment of the Signal Corps and 
the liquids and gases of the Chemical 
Warfare Service required special treat- 
ment. Some of the large items of Trans- 

portation Corps materiel, such as locomo- 
tives and boats, not only presented 
problems in car loading but necessitated 
careful attention to clearances on the 
railroad right of ways. 11 

The average haul for the Army's rail- 
way freight shipments was much greater 
than the general average. The Army 
average was 625 miles in the first quarter 
of 1942. As many new and widely dis- 
persed industrial plants and military 
installations came into operation and the 
shipment of freight to the ports for trans- 
shipment overseas increased, the average 
haul rose to 692 miles in the first quarter 
of 1943, 720 miles in the first quarter of 

1944, and 773 miles in the first quarter of 

1945. After redeployment began the pro- 
portion of shipments from the industrial 
East and Middle West to Pacific coast 
ports and depots increased, and the Army 
average advanced to 855 miles in June 
1945. 12 The average length of haul for all 
railroad freight, which had been 351.1 
miles in 1940, increased to 473.3 miles in 
1944 and declined to 458.1 miles in 1945, 
a year partly in the postwar period. 13 

Army freight traffic did not constitute 
a major portion of the total tonnage 
moved by the railroads, but it was a sub- 
stantial part and the percentage grew as 
the war progressed. The materiel shipped 
on War Department bills of lading was 5.1 
percent of the total rail tonnage in 1942, 
7.6 percent in 1943, 9.3 percent in 1944, 

' Ibid. 

11 Percentages are based on Table 16. Analyses of 
Army freight by commodities were presented from 
time to time during 1943 and 1944 in ASF MPR, 

Sec. 3. 

12 Data compiled by Progress Br, Contl Div OCT, 
4 Aug 45, OCT HB Traf Contl Div Freight; ASF 
MPR, Jun 45, Sec. 3, pp. 6, 7. 

13 AAR, Railroads In This Century (Washington, 
July 1947), p. 13. 



ENGINEER PONTONS LOADED ON FLATCARS for movement to the seaboard. 

and 12 percent in 1945. 14 Two points must 
be borne in mind in considering these fig- 
ures. The first, mentioned before, is that 
the data do not include shipments of raw 
materials and manufactured articles by 
industrial plants before the completion of 
military items for delivery to the Army. 
The other point is that as a general matter 
Army materiel, because of its distinctive 
characteristics and the necessity of main- 
taining shipping schedules, required more 
attention than a corresponding volume of 
commercial freight. 

Prompt delivery was an important fac- 
tor in a large proportion of Army ship- 
ments. In the early part of the war when 
the production of many items was behind 
schedule, delayed shipments might de- 
prive troop units of equipment or supplies 

essential to their training and practice 
maneuvers. While equipment was being 
assembled at depots or ports of embarka- 
tion to accompany troop units overseas, 
the lack of one item might delay the en- 
tire shipment. The movement of main- 
tenance supplies to the forces already 
overseas was carefully controlled by the 
oversea supply divisions of the ports of 
embarkation, and shipments against the- 
ater commanders' requisitions were care- 
fully phased to meet convoy sailing dates 
and theater requirements. Emergency 
requisitions were not uncommon, and it 
was essential that the closely scheduled 
shipments from industrial plants, depots, 

14 Data compiled in Transport Economics Section 
and published from time to time in ASF MPR, Sec. 



76-MM. GUN MOTOR CARRIAGES delivered to shipside. 

or holding and reconsignment points 
should be executed without failure or 

In order to assure prompt delivery, 
Army shipments were routed in such a 
way as to avoid congesting important ter- 
minals and to avoid sending additional 
shipments through inland gateways or 
ports that were already overburdened. 
The progress of urgent shipments was fol- 
lowed from point of origin to destination, 
and the carriers were called upon for spe- 
cial measures when such were necessary 
to maintain schedules. When failures oc- 
curred investigations were made to deter- 
mine the causes and prevent repetitions. 

In all these matters the closest possible 
co-operation was necessary between the 
Chief of Transportation and the carriers, 

particularly the railroads, which handled 
the bulk of the traffic. In 1940 the Asso- 
ciation of American Railroads established 
the Military Transportation Section in its 
Car Service Division to deal exclusively 
with military freight and passenger traffic. 
It was located first in the Office of The 
Quartermaster General, and after March 
1942 in the Office of the Chief of Trans- 
portation, in order to work hand in hand 
with the Army's transportation organiza- 
tion in meeting the succession of problems 
that each day presented. 15 While close re- 
lations were also maintained with the 
motor carriers, the volume and nature of 
the Army's highway traffic did not require 

15 See above, |"p. 1 5 . | Basic relations between the 
Army and the railroads are discussed in Wardlow, 
op. at., | pp. 312-19.1 



as elaborate arrangements as its rail 

Distribution of Freight Among the Carriers 

In planning the inland shipment of 
Army materiel the first decision to be 
made was whether it should move by rail, 
motor, water, or air. Several factors had 
to be considered. The first was whether 
one mode of transport would meet the 
military need better than the others. Then 
there was the question whether at a par- 
ticular time or on a particular route one 
type of carrier was less heavily burdened 
than the others. The matter of compara- 
tive costs always had to be kept in view. 
The first two considerations were so im- 
portant that as the war progressed mili- 
tary expediency sometimes outweighed 
the cost factor in determining the routing 
of particular shipments. 

When the United States began to rearm 
in 1940 and the volume of military freight 
began to mount, it was evident that the 
shipping officers of the Army had a pro- 
nounced predilection for rail transporta- 
tion. The railroads were fast. Their serv- 
ices were regular and dependable. They 
could handle all types of commodities and 
no tonnages were too great for them to 
move promptly. Beyond these consider- 
ations, Army shipping officers were thor- 
oughly familiar with the facilities and 
procedures of the railroads and had good 
working relationships with railroad offi- 
cials. As the pressure on the rail lines be- 
came increasingly heavy, however, the 
advisability of making greater use of the 
highways and the inland waterways be- 
came evident to the Army's transportation 
authorities in Washington. It was then a 
matter of educating those actually routing 
shipments to take all carriers into account. 

The Chief of Transportation and his 
Traffic Control Division made a consistent 
effort in that direction, and shipments by 
motor and barge increased markedly as 
the war progressed, but even then the rail- 
roads handled almost 90 percent of the 
Army's to nnage in 1944 and 1945. 
(Table! 7 )\ 

All but a small percentage of the mili- 
tary freight transported by the railroads 
moved in carload shipments. This was 
basically a consequence of the great 
volume of the Army's traffic, but there 
were other contributing factors. Materiel 
accompanying troop units naturally 
moved in carload shipments. Coal, petro- 
leum products, and chemicals normally 
moved in bulk and hence in carloads. Ex- 
plosives required special security meas- 
ures, and it was therefore advantageous to 
move them in quantity shipments. Many 
items of military equipment were so large 
that one item or a few constituted a car- 
load. In the summer of 1942 the Army 
inaugurated its own consolidated freight 
service on certain routes, and this service 
enabled it to bring together into carload 
shipments many small consignments that 
otherwise would have moved as less-than- 
carload lots. Shipments by railway express 
were avoided if possible because of the 
higher charges, and the need for speedy 
deliveries was frequently met by expedited 
rail freight service or by the use of the 
highway carriers. 

Restrictions on the use of railway ex- 
press reflected not only the higher cost but 
also the realization that the facilities of 
the Railway Express Agency were limited 
and that if they became overburdened the 
chief advantage of express service, which 
was speed of delivery, would be lost. Two 
types of restriction were employed. First, 



Table 17 — Means of Transport Used for Freight Moved on War Department Bills 
of Lading in the Zone of Interior: December 1941-December 1945 

(Thousands of Short Tons) 

Means of Transport 







340, 021 


50, 928 

88, 272 

105, 014 

94, 189 


307, 980 

1, 556 


80, 816 

94, 093 

84, 574 

301, 824 

1, 497 

45, 366 

78, 984 

92, 570 




1, 376 

1, 596 

1, 232 








27, 926 





8, 725 

4, 110 




1, 892 




( b ) 

( b ) 

( b ) 

( b ) 

( b ) 

■ Shipments of 10,000 pounds or more were counted as carloads, buT because of the severe shortage of cars few cars moved with so small 
a load. 

>> Shipments by air were: December 1941, 73 tons; 1942, 1,392 tons; 1943, 1,103 tons; 1944, 1,409 tons; 1945, 1,170 tons; total, 5,147 tons. 
Source: Summary of Freight Traffic on War Department Bills of Lading, by Transport Economics Section, Traffic Control Division, 
OCT, reworked for statistical volume of this series. 

the kinds of shipments for which express 
was permissible were specified — currency, 
valuable supplies that were subject to loss 
by theft, delicate instruments, perishable 
commodities, articles that would cost 
more if moved by other means, and emer- 
gency shipments. Second, shipments ag- 
gregating 5,000 pounds or more required 
an express transportation order issued by 
the Chief of Transportation. 18 During 
1944 the latter restriction was relaxed 
somewhat to permit shipments to be 
diverted from air to railway express re- 
gardless of weight and without obtaining 
an order from the Chief of Transporta- 
tion; also, provision was made for the 
issuance of blanket express transportation 
orders for certain categories of articles for 
which express shipment was especially 
suitable. 17 But while making these con- 
cessions in order to relieve shipping offi- 
cers of burdensome procedures so far as 
practicable, the Chief of Transportation 

constantly reminded the technical services 
that express shipments would have to be 
held within limits. 18 

The Army Air Forces and the Ord- 
nance Department were the heaviest users 
of railway express. 19 Express shipments 
began a sharp rise late in 1944, because of 
the urgent need of the armies in Europe 
for certain supplies, especially ammuni- 
tion. They jumped to a peak of over 80,- 
000 tons a month in February and March 
1945, largely because of heavy shipments 

16 AR 55-155, 27 Nov 42, pars. 32 and 33. The size 
of shipments requiring express transportation orders 
was changed several times before being fixed at 5,000 
pounds; see AR 30-955, 1 Jun 23, Sec. VII; WD Cir 
130, 5 Nov 40, Sec. Ill; WD Cir 16, 20 Jan 42, Sec. I. 

17 Memos, CG AAF for CofT, 28 Apr 43, 22 Jul 44, 
and 5 Aug 44, OCT 523 Freight Diverted From Air 
to Ground; W r D CTB 28, 2 Sep 44; WD CTB 33, 3 
Nov 44. 

18 OCT HB Monograph 24, pp. 27-28. 

19 Table, Summary by Technical Services and 
Types of Carriers of Freight Moved on WD Bills of 
Lading, OCT HB Traf Contl Div Freight. 



of empty shell cases to loading plants in 
the effort to recoup stocks that had been 
depleted as a result of the Battle of the 
Bulge and to comply with further heavy 
requisitions from Generals Eisenhower 
and MacArthur. 20 

Until September 1940 the Army's use 
of commercial motor transportation was 
severely limited by a War Department di- 
rective that required truck services to be 
engaged "by means of an agreement" and 
prohibited the use of the standard govern- 
ment bill of lading for truck shipments. At 
the time this directive was issued the mo- 
tor carriers had not been brought under 
federal regulation and their rates and 
practices varied greatly. There were also 
other circumstances that militated against 
the free use of truck services by the 
Army. The number of common carrier 
and contract truck operators was small 
and their equipment was limited, so that 
large Army shipments that had to move 
on particular routes on particular days 
could not be accommodated. State laws 
limiting the sizes and weights of vehicles 
using the highways varied considerably 
and were the cause of delays at state 
borders. The highway carriers could 
operate only within the limits specified in 
their permits or certificates. The trucking 
industry was not as thoroughly organized 
as were the railroads, and motor equip- 
ment could not be shifted from place to 
place as freely as rail equipment. Land- 
grant deductions, which gave the Army 
favorable rates on the railroads, were not 
applicable to the highway carriers unless 
special equalization agreements were 
made. Beyond these considerations there 
was the preference that Army transporta- 
tion officers had for the railroads as a re- 
sult of their long collaboration. Neverthe- 

less, the advisability of extending the use 
of commercial trucks was recognized 
when military traffic began to swell as a 
result of rearmament. The Transportation 
Act of 1940 tightened the federal regula- 
tion of the commercial trucking industry, 
and in September of that year the pro- 
hibition against the use of government 
bills of lading for motor shipments was 
lifted. 21 In spite of the handicaps, Army 
transportation officers in Washington im- 
mediately took steps to increase the vol- 
ume of military freight moving over the 
highways. 22 

After the United States entered the war 
careful consideration was given to the 
problem of using commercial highway 
transportation to best advantage for the 
movement of Army materiel. The Chief 
of Transportation's Traffic Control Divi- 
sion had a section that gave exclusive 
attention to this problem. 23 Certain def- 
inite advantages in the use of highway 
carriers were recognized. Truck services 
were flexible, and pickup and delivery 
practices could be adapted to suit the con- 
venience of consignors and consignees. 
Over short and medium distances the de- 
livery time often was less by truck than by 
rail. Shipment by truck was especially 
suitable for certain commodities and 
sometimes permitted a saving in cooper- 
age and packing costs. Motor transport 
could be used to relieve the railroads 
when they became overburdened on par- 

20 ASF MPR, Apr 45, Sec. 3, p. 7; Summary of 
Freight Traffic on WD Bills of Lading, by Transport 
Economics Sec, reworked for statistical volume of 
this series. 

21 WD Cir 108, 30 Sep 40, Sec. I; AR 55-105, 29 
Dec 42, par. 9. 

22 A fuller discussion of the Army's use of the high- 
way car riers will be found in Wardlow, op. cit., pp. 

23 Functions of Motor Sec, Freight Br, 12 Mar 43, 
OCT HB Traf Contl Div Freight. 



ticular routes or at particular gateways, 
and could also be used to avoid the assign- 
ment of rail equipment to short hauls 
where the production of ton-miles of 
transportation was relatively low. 24 

Early in the war the Chief of Transpor- 
tation considered the advisability of limit- 
ing the use of commercial trucks to dis- 
tances under 300 miles. 2S The establish- 
ment of a fixed mileage limit was not 
approved, however, and the wartime 
policy was that, although as a general 
matter the use of the highway carriers 
would be confined to the shorter routes 
and long-haul freight would be moved by 
rail, the choice of a carrier for a particular 
shipment would be made in the light of 
all of the circumstances. 

Army shipments by highway carriers 
increased s teadily during the war. (See 
| Table I7.) \ The total volume of motor 
freight shipped between December 1941 
and the end of 1945 was almost 28,000,- 
000 tons. This accounted for only 8.2 per- 
cent of the total Army freight; neverthe- 
less, the proportionate increase in tonnage 
moved by highway was greater than that 
in tonnage moved by rail. 26 Materiel of 
the Army Air Forces, the Quartermaster 
Corps, and the Ordnance Department 
constituted the largest segments of high- 
way freight. 27 

A study of Army highway shipments 
during the first half of 1944 disclosed that 
California and Texas were the states orig- 
inating the largest percentages of the total 
(18.4 and 10.7 percent, respectively); they 
also had the largest percentages with 
respect to destination. Of the tonnage de- 
livered in California, 89.8 percent orig- 
inated in that state, and the correspond- 
ing figure for Texas was 75.5 percent. In 
the eastern part of the United States more 
shipments crossed state borders, but the 

figures nevertheless emphasized that 
motor freight was predominately short- 
haul freight. 28 An analysis of the freight 
shipped by highway during five scattered 
months of 1943 disclosed that 75 percent 
of the tonnage was handled by general 
commodity haulers, 1 1 percent by bulk 
petroleum haulers, 1 3 percent by automo- 
bile haulers, and 1 percent by freight 
forwarders. 29 

Although after September 1940 the 
movement of military freight by highway 
carriers could be accomplished on War 
Department bills of lading, shipments of 
the household goods of military personnel 
at government expense still required a bid 
and contract procedure. As the Army in- 
creased, such shipments aggregated a 
considerable volume and involved prob- 
lems different from those encountered in 
the movement of other freight. During 
1941 the household van operators made a 
persistent effort to obtain a change in the 
Army regulation and the removal of what 
they considered a discriminatory provi- 
sion. The War Department, however, con- 
tinued to require a special contract for 
each shipment of household goods, since 
that method enabled it to establish in ad- 
vance definite transportation and assesso- 
rial charges, to make provision . against 
unsatisfactory practices such as transfer 
en route and tail-gate loading, and to re- 
quire performance bonds. Standard forms 

24 WD TM 55-205, 25 Aug 44, pp. 75-82, lists the 
advantages and disadvantages of highway transpor- 

23 Gross Log, 1 Jul 42, OCT HB Gross Log; Min of 
ZTO Gonf, Washington, Sep 43, p. 67, OCT HB 
Zones Gen. 

26 Index of Tonnages Moved on WD Bills of 
Lading, A SF MPR, M ay 45, Sec. 3, p. 7. 

27 Table lcited n~T9~l 

28 ASF MPR, Jul 44, Sec. 3, p. 68. 

2B ASF MPR, Dec 43, Sec. 3, p. 65. Th e Army 's use 
of freight forwarders is discussed below, |p. 306| 



for such contracts were provided to trans- 
portation officers in the field, first by The 
Quartermaster General and later by the 
Chief of Transportation. 30 

The movement of explosives naturally 
presented peculiar problems. This traffic 
was closely regulated by state and federal 
laws and by rules of the Interstate Com- 
merce Commission, the railroads, and the 
Ordnance Department. The regulations 
were strictly enforced by the Association 
of American Railroads' Bureau of Explo- 
sives, which functioned as an inspection 
and enforcement agency. 31 Before the re- 
armament program was begun such ship- 
ments were made almost entirely by rail- 
road freight service, but the requirements 
of an expanding Army necessitated mod- 
ification of the practice. Until June 1941 
approval of the War Department was re- 
quired before shipments of explosives and 
other dangerous articles could be made 
by motor carriers, but at that time local 
transportation officers were authorized to 
make such shipments on their own au- 
thority provided the carriers certified that 
all federal, state, and local laws and regu- 
lations would be observed. 32 After Pearl 
Harbor the need for emergency shipments 
of explosives was great, and the use of 
railway express for less-than-carload lots 
was authorized under certain conditions. 
The precautions taken to avoid disasters 
during the transportation of explosives 
were especially severe in connection with 
export shipments, which required trans- 
shipment at the ports. 33 

Use of the inland waterways for War 
Department freight was negligible during 
peacetime, and although efforts were 
made to increase this traffic during 1940 
and 1941 only limited success was 

achieved. 34 There were several drawbacks 
to the extensive use of water services. De- 
livery was slow as compared with rail. 
Few Army installations were served di- 
rectly by water carriers, and this meant 
that shipments had to be handled part of 
the way by rail or motor. Through rates on 
combination rail and water routes were 
not uniformly available. Water rates were 
not subject to land-grant deductions as 
were rail rates on many routes. Army 
transportation officers could not obtain 
reliable information regarding water serv- 
ice as readily as they could regarding rail 
service. On the other hand, water rates 
sometimes were lower than land-grant 
rail rates, and it was evident that the time 
would come when use of the inland water- 
ways would be desirable as a means of re- 
lieving the railroads. As soon as the 
United States entered the war, therefore, 
Army shipping authorities in Washington 
took aggressive steps to increase the use of 
the barge lines and instructed the trans- 
portation officers in the field to do 
likewise. 35 

From monthly totals of a few thousand 

30 OCT HB Monograph 6, pp. 381-88; Memo, 
Wardlow for CoL Douglas C. Cordiner, 1 1 Mar 41, 
OCT HB Topic Household Goods; Ltr, SW to Sen 
Sheridan Downey, 2 Apr 41, OSW Trans 500-800; 
AR 55-105, 29 Dec 42, par. 96. 

31 The Bureau of Explosives reported that during 
the period 1940-45 the railroads handled about 
50,000,000 tons of military high explosives, and that 
with commercial shipments the total was over 65,000,- 
000 tons. AAR press release, 15 Apr 46. 

32 OCT HB Monograph 6, pp. 146-47, 166-67; 
WD Cir 107, 3 Jun 41, Sec. I; AR 55-155, 27 Nov 
42, Sec. IV; WD TM 55-205, 25 Aug 44, pp. 143- 

" This subject will be discussed further in Chapter 


34 See Wardlow, op. cit.,\£p. 367-69] for a more 
detailed discussion of this general subject. 

35 SOS Memo S 55-3-42, 23 Oct 42, sub: Utilization 
of Domestic Carriers. 



tons in 1941, Army shipments on domes- 
tic water routes increased to more than 
200,000 tons in some war months. The 
annual total increased from 901,000 tons 
in 1942 to 1,891,000 tons in 1944. The 
total domestic water traffic from Decem- 
ber 1941 through December 1945 was 
4,1 10,000 tons. 36 This traffic constituted 
only 1.2 percent of the total Army traffic. 
Waterborne tonnage could have been fur- 
ther increased if more barges and tugs 
had been available. 37 Some such equip- 
ment was built by the Office of Defense 
Transportation during the war, but the 
amount of new construction was limited 
by the demand for steel for the military 

In large measure the increase in the 
Army's domestic waterborne tonnage was 
the result of the persistent efforts of the 
Inland Waterways Section of the Traffic 
Control Division. This section not only 
undertook to insure that shipments were 
routed by water when suitable services 
were available, but also tried to see that 
barges and tugs, whether publicly or pri- 
vately owned, were so used as to handle 
the maximum traffic. 

During the years 1943 and 1944 petro- 
leum products in bulk constituted about 
82 percent of the total Army freight 
routed on the inland waterways, and the 
remaining 18 percent was made up of 
general supplies and motor vehicles. 38 In 
1945 the Army shipped considerable 
grain for European civilian aid down the 
Mississippi in barges for transshipment at 
New Orleans. 

The Army made only slight use of com- 
mercial air service for its domestic ship- 
ments of materiel. During the entire war 
period air shipments totaled only slightly 

over 5,000 tons. (See Table 17. ) There were 
two reasons for this. Since the airlines had 
not introduced cargo services in peace- 
time and early in the war had been re- 
quired to surrender about half of their 
passenger planes to the government, air 
express capacity was exceedingly lim- 
ited. 39 Also, the air express rate was so 
high that the Army required that use of 
this form of transportation be "confined 
to the most extreme emergencies." 40 Ex- 
press transportation orders issued by the 
Chief of Transportation could not be con- 
strued as authorizing the use of air express 
unless air express was specifically stated. 
All commercial air shipments were sub- 
ject to priorities issued by the Air Trans- 
port Command. 41 The effect of these re- 
strictions in limiting the size of shipments 
is seen in the fact that the 903 tons of 
Army supplies moved by air express dur- 

:iK Table, Army Traffic by Domestic Water Car- 
riers and Air, 18 May 50, OCT HB Traf Contl Div 
Freight. Wartime domestic water traffic moved on 
the Great Lakes, rivers, canals, and intracoastal barge 
routes; intercoastal and coastwise steamship services 
were virtually discontinued because the larger ships 
were needed elsewhere. 

37 Min of Port Comdrs Conf, Boston, 30 Aug-1 Sep 
43, p. 121, OCT HB PE Gen. 

38 ASF MPR, Jul 45, Sec. 3, p. 14. The figures for 
"routings" in the MPR studies are considerably larger 
than the figures for actual shipments given above, 
since shipments routed by water did not always move 
by that route. Wardlow, op. «"<., |p. 369] gives an esti- 
mate of 12 percent for nonpetroleum commodities 
shipped by water during the entire war period. This 
estimate took into account the fact that petroleum 
shipments by barges did not begin until well into 
1943. See ASF MPR, Feb 44, Sec. 3, p. 85. 

3 * The development of air cargo services during the 
war was modest and chiefly under military control. 
For a brief history, see Department of Commerce, 
Industry Report — Domestic Transportation, October- 
November 1946, pp. 7-13. 

40 AR 55-155, 27 Nov 42, par. 34. 

41 WD Cir 385, 27 Nov 42, Sec. II, and WD Cir 
369, 12 Sep 44, Sec. II. 



Chart 8 — Freight Moved Monthly by Rail and Other Domestic Carriers on War 
Department Bills of Lading: December 1941-December 1945* 

» L *$S*T TOMS 


(2 r 



T OTttL 

;pf M.£fi : 






1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 

* "Rail" includes carload, less-than-carload, and express,- "Other" includes highway, damestic waterway, and air. 

Source: Summary of Freight Traffic on War Department Bills of Lading, by Transport Economics Section, Traffic Control 
Branch, OCT, reworked for statistical volume af this series. 

ing the first eight months of 1944 consisted 
of 24,020 separate shipments. 42 

The domestic cargo service that the Air 
Transport Command inaugurated with 
military aircraft during the war lifted 
limited quantities of emergency supplies 
destined for the ports for transshipment 
overseas by water. In addition to requir- 
ing priorities issued by the Air Transport 
Command, air shipments of ASF and 
AGF materiel exceeding 250 pounds re- 
quired the approval of the Chief of Trans- 
portation. 43 

Although other types of transport han- 
dled a substantial part of the Army's 
domestic freight traffic, the railroads car- 
ried an overwhelming percentage of it. 

This is strikingly depicted in Chart 8, 
which also shows the gradual growth of 
the traffic to a peak in March 1945, and 
the sharp decline after Japan surrendered. 
The importance of the other types was less 
in the volume they transported, although 
that afforded appreciable relief to the 
hard pressed railroads, than in the fact 
that each served especially well for a par- 
ticular kind of traffic — the highway car- 
riers for short-haul movements, the barge 
services for the transportation of non- 
urgent bulk commodities, and the airlines 

42 ASF MPR, Sep 44, Sec. 3, p. 69. 

43 WD CTB 9, 2 Feb 44, sub: Priorities for Ship- 
ments via ATC Domestic Cargo Service; ASF MPR, 
Sep 44, Sec. 3, p. 69. 



for the speedy delivery of small emergency 

Routing and Related Practices 

Central control over the routing of 
Army freight shipments was a controver- 
sial issue during the greater part of the 
war. The technical services and the trans- 
portation officers in the field frequently 
were critical of the policy and of the man- 
ner in which it was administered. But 
despite the criticism, the routing regula- 
tion was not only retained but broadened, 
because the transportation authorities in 
Washington believed that close central 
control was necessary to insure the satis- 
factory movement of War Department 
property and the economical utilization 
of transportation equipment. It was found 
possible, however, to exempt certain types 
of shipments from the requirement with- 
out seriously disturbing its effectiveness. 

The peacetime regulation provided 
that, except for property accompanying 
troops, shipments of two or more carloads 
from a single point of origin to a single 
point of destination should be covered by 
a "route order" obtained from The Quar- 
termaster General, and that the order 
number should appear on the bill of 
lading. 44 During 1941 there was a marked 
increase in the volume of War Depart- 
ment materiel moved to the ports for 
transshipment overseas, including sup- 
plies shipped to Allied countries under 
lend-lease as well as those shipped to our 
own forces, and in order to provide a 
means for preventing congestion at the 
ports the regulation was changed to re- 
quire that a "release and routing" should 
be obtained for all port-bound shipments 
of one carload (or the equivalent) or 
more, whether moving by rail, truck, or 
barge. 45 This procedure gave the central 
transportation authorities a measure of 

control over the time of movement as well 
as over the route. 48 

During this period The Quartermaster 
General, who was then in charge of Army 
transportation, conceded some of his 
rights under the routing regulation in an 
effort to reduce the work that the regula- 
tion imposed on transportation officers in 
the field and on his own office. Where re- 
current domestic shipments were com- 
mon, as between manufacturing plants 
and depots and between depots and other 
Army installations, ninety-day "term 
routings" were issued to cover the move- 
ment of specific commodities. Term rout- 
ings were found especially useful in con- 
nection with the movement of Ordnance 
Department materiel. A somewhat similar 
arrangement was made in connection 
with shipments of Quartermaster supplies 
by certain contractors, the routing of all 
shipments under the contract being in- 
cluded in the contract terms. But these 
arrangements to reduce the number of 
route orders requested and issued affected 
only a minor part of the total tonnage 
moved, and as soon as the United States 
entered the war it became necessary to 
cancel all term routings because of the 
tightening transportation situation. 47 

As the war progressed the domestic 
transportation situation became more and 
more critical, and at the same time the 
need for close control of Army shipments 
increased. Also, it was found that transpor- 
tation officers in the field, by breaking up 
shipments into single carloads, were evad- 
ing the regulation requiring them to obtain 

44 AR 30-905, 1 Aug 29, par. 15. 

45 WD Cir 182, 28 Aug 41, Sec. IV, par. 15H; AR 
55-105, 29 Dec 42, pars. 15 and 16. 

is See below, [^p~267-73.| 

47 OCT HB Monograph 6, pp. 127-29; Memos, 
TAG for CofCA and Gs of Supply Services, 29 Dec 
41 and 2 Jan 42, sub: Cancellation of Blanket Rout- 
ings, AG 500 (12-26-41X1). 



routing orders for all domestic shipments 
of two or more carloads. Accordingly, in 
April 1943 the Chief of Transportation ob- 
tained a change in the regulation, which 
required routing orders to be obtained 
from his office for domestic shipments of 
one carload or more, unless the shipments 
consisted of troop impedimenta or perish- 
able subsistence. 48 

At this time — April 1943 — the author- 
ity of the Chief of Transportation over the 
routing of Army shipments was exceed- 
ingly broad. He routed export and domes- 
tic shipments of or equivalent to one 
carload, with the exceptions previously 
noted. He controlled shipments by express 
if they exceeded 5,000 pounds. He con- 
trolled the routing of shipments by mili- 
tary aircraft, except Air Forces materiel, 
if they exceeded 250 pounds. Further- 
more, as the officer responsible for the 
Army's freight consolidating service, he 
controlled the movement of a large per- 
centage of less-than-carload shipments. 

Control of the routing of carload freight 
obviously was the core of this responsibil- 
ity. There were two types of orders. Route 
orders for domestic shipments were issued 
by the Freight Branch of the Traffic Con- 
trol Division, and the branch's main 
object was to select routes that would pro- 
duce the best results for the Army and use 
transportation equipment most econom- 
ically. Release and routing orders lor 
export freight were issued by the Control 
Branch, which obtained the routings from 
the Freight Branch and, after consulting 
the Water Division regarding the avail- 
ability of water transportation, indicated 
the dates on which the shipments should 
move. 49 During the forty-five months of 
actual hostilities approximately 1,345,000 
such orders were issued for domestic and 

export shipments, involving about 6,412,- 
000 carloads. 50 

The most common complaint against 
central freight routing during the early 
part of the emergency concerned the time 
lost in getting shipments started because 
of the necessity of first communicating 
with Washington. When routings were 
requested by mail, as was usually the case 
at that period, the complaint had sub- 
stance, although the Army transportation 
authorities in Washington believed that 
the advantages of central routing more 
than offset the disadvantage of delay. 51 In 
August 1941 the use of radio or telegraph 
in obtaining routings was authorized 
when conditions warranted. 5 2 The estab- 
lishment of a teletype network connecting 
Washington and the larger field installa- 
tions also was helpful. After the United 
States entered the war the proportion of 
mail requests declined rapidly, and when 
the use of long-distance telephone for ob- 
taining routings was specifically author- 
ized mail requests virtually ceased. 53 
Use of the telephone, together with meth- 
ods that the Traffic Control Division de- 
veloped for supplying routings promptly, 
frequently enabled transportation officers 
in the field to make requests and receive 
routings in a single call. But under war 

48 Memo, CofT for TAG, 2 Apr 43, AG 510; AR 
55-105, Changes 3, 28 Apr 43, par. 15. 

49 For release purposes any shipment of 20,000 
pounds by rail or 10,000 pounds by highway was con- 
sidered a "carload or equivalent." 

50 OCT HB Monograph 24, App. IV. In addition, 
more than 29.000 express transportation orders were 
issued for express shipments of 5,000 pounds or more. 

51 OCT HB Monograph 6, pp. 1 17-22. 

52 WD Cir 182, 28 Aug 41, par. 15. 

53 OCT HB Monograph 24, pp. 9-10; Rpt, Traf 
Contl Div, FY 1945, p. 25, OCT HB Traf Contl Div 



conditions time frequently was required to 
make telephone connections, and there 
were occasions when complicated routings 
could not be provided immediately. 

There was criticism also of some of the 
routings provided by the Chief of Trans- 
portation. These criticisms emanated from 
transportation officers in the field and 
from the headquarters of some technical 
services. While occasionally admitting 
that something had gone wrong, the Chief 
of Transportation usually defended his 
selection of routes. It is understandable 
that there should have been differences of 
opinion on this subject since there were 
two entirely different points of view — that 
of offices responsible only for specific ship- 
ments, and that of the office responsible 
for Army traffic in general and for the 
economical use of transportation equip- 

The principal difficulties experienced 
by the Chief of Transportation originated 
with two services that preferred to route 
their own traffic and maintained organi- 
zations for that purpose. These were the 
Army Air Forces and the Ordnance De- 
partment. In the fall of 1942 the Air 
Forces, which during the war attained a 
large degree of autonomy within the 
Army, obtained a delegation of authority 
from the Chief of Transportation enabling 
it with certain limitations to route its own 
domestic traffic. The Chief of Transporta- 
tion granted this authority reluctantly 
and later endeavored to recall it, but 
without success. 54 In the summer of 1942 
the Ordnance Department asked for and 
obtained special blanket route orders 
covering all shipments between certain of 
its installations. The Chief of Transporta- 
tion soon concluded that the use of 
blanket orders threatened the effectiveness 

of traffic control on the routes concerned 
and canceled them after a few months' 
trial. 55 

Perceiving that his difficulties with the 
Ordnance Department were largely due 
to the facts that it had a staff of traffic 
experts at its headquarters and that the 
transportation officers at important Ord- 
nance field installations were Ordnance 
officers, rather than Transportation Corps 
officers, the Chief of Transportation took 
steps to change these conditions. Main- 
taining a traffic organization in the Ord- 
nance Department was contrary to Army 
regulations, and in October 1942 the 
Commanding General, Services of Sup- 
ply, directed that the regulations be 
observed. 56 The organization was accord- 
ingly dissolved and much of its person- 
nel was transferred to the Chief of 
Transportation's Traffic Control Divi- 
sion. 57 The Army regulations also pro- 
vided that so far as possible the transpor- 
tation officers at field installations should 
be officers of the Transportation Corps, 
and this requirement was fulfilled as 
rapidly as the Chief of Transportation was 

51 See Wardlow, op. cit. \ pp. 59-b2, | on reasons for 
the delegation and the Chief of Transportation's dis- 
satisfaction with it. 

55 Memo, CofT for CofOrd, 25 Jun 42, sub: Ord 
Field Sv Route Orders; Memo, CofT for CofOrd, 1 
Jul 42, sub: Releases for Ord Freight Shipts; 4th Ind, 
CofT for CofOrd, 28 Jul 42; Memo, CofT for CofOrd, 
12 Aug 42, sub: Revision of Rail Routes; Memos, 
CofT for William H. Atack, Ind Sv Ord Dept, 1 7 and 
30 Sep 42, sub: Request for Routing; Memo, CofT for 
CofOrd, 26 Sep 42, sub: Shipt of Boxed Vehicles; all 
in OCT 523.091 Ord. 

56 AR 30-905, 1 Aug 29, and its successor, AR 55- 
105, 29 Dec 42, par. 2f; WD GO 38, 31 Jul 42; Memo, 
CG SOS for Cs of Supply Svs, 17 Oct 42, sub: Clari- 
fication of Responsibility for Trans Functions, OCT 
023 Ordnance. 

" Memos, Lasher for CofT, 26 Dec 42, 15 Jan 43, 
10 Feb 43; Memo, CofT for CofOrd, 20 Feb 43, sub: 
Clarification of Responsibility; all in OCT 023 Ord- 



able to supply the officers. These adjust- 
ments made a perceptible change in rela- 
tions with Ordnance in the matter of rout- 
ing freight; the relationship no longer 
suffered from the handicap of too many 

The Traffic Control Division, with the 
full support of the Chief of Transportation, 
fought stubbornly to maintain the in- 
tegrity of its control over the routing of 
freight against criticism of both the princi- 
ple and the practice of such control. The 
division presented a number of arguments 
in support of its position. Two of the argu- 
ments — avoidance of congestion, and con- 
servation of transportation equipment- 
were closely related. Brig. Gen. WilliamJ. 
Williamson, chief of the Traffic Control 
Division, never lost an opportunity to 
stress these points. 58 They both stemmed 
from the fact that transportation equip- 
ment was barely able to meet wartime re- 
quirements and had to be used with 
utmost efficiency. 

The Traffic Control Division had daily 
contacts with Army installations and close 
working relations with the headquarters 
of the Office of Defense Transportation 
and the Association of American Rail- 
roads. Through these channels the divi- 
sion was in a position to know whenever 
excessive numbers of loaded cars had ac- 
cumulated at particular points, and to 
hold back the flow of additional traffic to 
congested terminals, or to divert some 
shipments that normally would pass, 
through congested gateways. In this way 
it was able to forestall immobilization of 
large numbers of cars by congestion and 
to insure that they were loaded and un- 
loaded promptly. No other branch of the 
War Department in Washington con- 
cerned with transportation and no field 

transportation officer possessed such in- 
formation on a nationwide basis. Even if 
they had possessed it, they probably would 
not have used it to best advantage, be- 
cause their primary interest would have 
been in the movement of particular ship- 
ments rather than in the effectiveness of 
the transportation industry as a whole. 

Other aspects of car conservation had a 
direct bearing on the question of cen- 
tralized routing. Through his contact with 
the Car Service Division of the Associa- 
tion of American Railroads the Chief of 
Transportation was able at all times to 
know in what areas there were shortages 
or surpluses of cars suitable for the trans- 
portation of particular commodities. Since 
the Car Service Division had authority to 
transfer freight equipment from place to 
place regardless of ownership, its assist- 
ance could be obtained in building up the 
car supply in areas from which important 
Army shipments were expected to move. 
The Chief of Transportation joined in the 
Army-wide effort to reduce the crosshaul- 
ing and backhauling that inevitably 
entered into the procurement and dis- 
tribution of supplies, and his work in pro- 
viding routings helped him to ascertain 
where such uneconomical practices existed 
and to confront the technical services in- 
volved with concrete evidence. 

His control over freight routings enabled 
the Chief of Transportation to insure that 
the routes most advantageous to the War 
Department were used and that an equi- 
table distribution of traffic among the 
transportation lines was maintained. 
Although the latter consideration was 

38 Arguments for centralized control presented in 
this and succeeding paragraphs are based on Memo, 
Col Williamson for Contl Div OCT, 30 Jun 43, which 
is reproduced as App. V of OCT HB Monograph 24, 
and his remarks in Min of ZTO Conf, Washington, 
24-26 Sep 43, pp. 58-65. 



always kept in view, the former was of 
primary importance. The most advanta- 
geous route from the standpoint of the 
Army was the one that would insure 
prompt delivery at the lowest rate. As has 
already been stated, the exigencies of the 
war often dictated that the cost factor be 
subordinated to military expediency and 
such procedure was authorized in the 
regulations. This might involve giving a 
shipment a rail routing different from that 
which it normally would take, or trans- 
ferring it to a highway carrier. Broad mili- 
tary considerations also required that 
certain shipments be given priority over 
others. All of these were matters to which 
the Chief of Transportation, and he alone, 
because of his broad knowledge of traffic 
conditions and his close contacts with the 
other agencies affected by these condi- 
tions, was able to give proper attention. 

The contentions that zone or service 
command transportation officers should 
route shipments moving within their re- 
spective areas, and that local transporta- 
tion officers should be permitted to route 
short-haul shipments made from their in- 
stallations, were countered with the argu- 
ment that the objectives sought by the 
War Department in handling its freight 
traffic could only be achieved if dealt with 
on a nationwide basis. Local or area trans- 
portation officers inevitably would com- 
pete with one another in their efforts to 
move their own shipments promptly, and 
World War I had produced glaring ex- 
amples of the unfortunate results of such 
competition. Moreover, short-haul routes 
usually were segments of long-haul routes, 
and unhealthy conditions on the former 
were almost sure to adversely affect traffic 
on the latter. 

Since solicitation of Army freight by in- 
dividual carriers worked contrary to the 

Chief of Transportation's policies on rout- 
ing, it was severely frowned upon. Never- 
theless, as pointed out by Lt. Col. Richard 
M. Boyd, chief of the Freight Traffic 
Branch, solicitation was a constant prob- 
lem at Army installations, because local 
representatives of the carriers tried to in- 
crease their individual bookings even 
though their lines might already be oper- 
ating at capacity. 59 

The improvement in the Chief of Trans- 
portation's position with respect to rout- 
ing, which was due partly to the force of 
his arguments and partly to the strength- 
ening of his field organization after the 
Transportation Corps was created in July 

1942, did not mean that criticism of cen- 
tral routing had ended. The change made 
in the regulation in April 1943, giving the 
Chief of Transportation authority to route 
domestic carload shipments rather than 
shipments of two carloads or more, 
brought renewed protests from various 
sources. Some of the zone transportation 
officers were critical of the arrangement, 
and some divisions of the OCT questioned 
the advisability of making the require- 
ment so broad. Doubt was expressed re- 
garding the wisdom of having a staff in 
Washington route such small shipments 
when they were made wholly within a 
zone or service command. It was argued 
that, if local transportation officers were 
permitted to route intrazone truck ship- 
ments, they would be able to take into ac- 
count the possibility of obtaining return 
loads and hence could increase the work 
accomplished by the vehicles. 60 

r>8 Remarks by Col Boyd, in Min of Port and Zone 
Comdrs Conf, Chicago, 6-9 Jul 44, afternoon session, 
7 Jul 44, p. 24. 

90 Remarks by Lt Col Raymond C. Stone, ZTO, 
Eighth Zone, in Min of ZTO Conf, Washington, Sep 

1943, pp. 54-57; OCT HB Monograph 24, pp. 7, 8. 



By September 1943 Williamson, who 
was the most vigorous proponent of cen- 
tralized routing, felt that the traffic situa- 
tion was sufficiently stabilized and under 
control to warrant some relaxation of the 
requirements affecting domestic ship- 
ments; he was ready to sanction decen- 
tralization to the extent that it could be 
done without sacrificing the advantages of 
the system then in effect. 61 A change in the 
regulation issued in that month permitted 
local transportation officers to route, in 
addition to perishables and troop impedi- 
menta, all domestic shipments of five car- 
loads or less when they were not destined 
for a depot or holding and reconsignment 
point, and when they were not being 
shipped over distances exceeding 200 
miles, or when rail was the best means of 
transport and only one rail route was 
available. 62 Local routing to depots and 
holding and reconsignment points was 
not permitted, because these installations 
received shipments from many sources 
and hence were specially susceptible to 
the bunching of traffic and car congestion. 
Shipments traveling less than 200 miles 
were considered not likely to block gate- 
ways that were important to through 
traffic. All such local routings had to be 
reported to the Chief of Transportation in 
weekly statements. As was the case pre- 
viously, any single carload could be 
routed locally when emergency conditions 
did not allow time to obtain a routing 
from Washington, but since the privilege 
had been overworked the new regulation 
required that confirmation of such rout- 
ings be obtained immediately from the 
Chief of Transportation. 

The new regulation expressly author- 
ized blanket routings as a means of reliev- 
ing the field of the necessity of obtaining a 
route order for each shipment in cases 

where shipments between two points were 
made repeatedly. The issuance of blanket 
orders was entirely at the discretion of the 
Chief of Transportation, as were also the 
conditions imposed in each case. Such 
orders were subject to cancellation or 
revision at any time. Local transportation 
officers were required to make monthly 
reports to the Chief of Transportation 
showing the shipments effected under 
blanket orders during the period. These 
reports were studied by the Traffic Con- 
trol Division in order to ascertain whether 
blanket routings, together with shipment 
routings, were endangering the fluidity of 
traffic at any installations or gateways. 
Blanket route orders, in other words, re- 
duced the amount of communication be- 
tween local transportation officers and 
Washington but left the control of routing 
entirely in the hands of the Chief of Trans- 
portation. In operation this plan worked 
out very satisfactorily. Among the various 
technical services, the Ordnance Depart- 
ment made the most extensive use of 
blanket routings. 63 

The technical services were concerned 
not only with the routes over which their 
materiel was shipped but also with the 
speed with which it was delivered. During 
the prewar emergency period expedited 
service was desirable because production 
was behind schedule and troops in train- 
ing frequently were handicapped by 
shortages of important items of supply. 
The same condition existed for some time 

61 Memo, Williamson for Contl Div OCT, 7 Sep 43, 
sub: Decentralization of Routing Authority, OCT 500 
(AR 55-105). 

62 AR 55- 105, Changes 7, 27 Sep 43. 

e3 Remarks by Williamson in Min of ZTO Conf, 
Washington, Sep 43, p. 68; lnterv with Col Lasher, 15 
Oct 51, OCT HB Traf Contl Div Freight. 


after the United States entered the war, 
and to it was added the heavy and often 
unpredictable requirements of the active 

Late in 1940 the railroads complained 
that they were being burdened by re- 
quests from many sources for extraor- 
dinary service, most of which could not be 
honored. Sometimes contradictory re- 
quests were received pertaining to the 
same shipment. Despite the efforts of The 
Quartermaster General to have all such 
matters channeled through his office, full 
compliance by the supply services and the 
field transportation officers was not ob- 
tained until after Pearl Harbor. Soon after 
the United States entered the war the 
Secretary of War ordered that all requests 
for special service be directed to The 
Quartermaster General's Commercial 
Traffic Branch and not to individual rail- 
roads or to the Association of American 
Railroads. An added reason for this order 
was that G-4 during this period required 
the Commercial Traffic Branch to furnish 
it with daily location reports covering 
shipments being rushed to the Western 
Defense Command, the Pacific bases, and 
certain Caribbean areas. 64 

With the creation of a Chief of Trans- 
portation in March 1942, control of re- 
quests for expedited service passed to his 
office and was exercised by the Control 
Branch of the Traffic Control Division. 
These requests might involve arrange- 
ments for special freight trains, the trans- 
fer of shipments from freight to express, or 
other special services that might disrupt 
regular freight schedules. 65 They were 
made on behalf of domestic shipments but 
more often pertained to export freight. The 
demand for expediting became increas- 
ingly heavy as the war progressed, and the 
critical military situation in Europe dur- 

ing the winter of 1944-45 brought such 
cases to an all-time high. During the fiscal 
year ending 30 June 1945 the Expediting 
Section of the Control Branch processed 
over 28,000 requests for special service, in- 
volving about 200,000 carloads of freight. 

During the same year 420 special trains 
were authorized, although more than 50 
percent of the requests were refused. Spe- 
cial trains were not always the result of 
requests from the field. The Control 
Branch worked closely with the ports, and 
when it was apparent that a special train 
would be necessary to enable a large ship- 
ment to reach the port in time for loading 
in a designated vessel or convoy, the 
branch arranged for this service at the 
time the release and routing order was 
issued. 06 

Under an order issued by the Interstate 
Commerce Commission in August 1943, 
all special trains, except those transport- 
ing impedimenta moving with troops, had 
to be approved by one of three ICC re- 
gional agents. As first issued this order 
would have imposed additional routine on 
the already heavily burdened Control 
Branch and would probably have caused 
some delays. At the request of the Army a 
further order was issued designating the 
manager of the Military Transportation 
Section, Association of American Rail- 
roads, an additional ICC agent to issue 
permits for special trains. Since the MTS 
staff was located in the Traffic Control Di- 
vision and the two offices worked vir- 
tually as one organization, the arrange- 

64 OCT HB Monograph 6, pp. 315-19; Memo, 
TAG for CGs All Armies, el at, 22 Dec 41, sub: Con- 
tact with AAR, AG 531 (12-16-41). 

G5 See WD TM 55-205, 25 Aug 44, sub: Transpor- 
tation in ZI, p. 7 1 . 

66 Rpts, Traf Contl Div, 22 Jan 45, p. 12, and 27 
Sep 45, Tab 3, p. 3; Rpt, Traf Contl Div, FY 1945, p. 



ment proved satisfactory to the army. 87 
The consignors and consignees of ur- 
gently needed freight frequently were 
tempted to approach the carriers directly 
to trace shipments and sometimes to di- 
vert them to new destinations. This prac- 
tice, which gave increasing annoyance to 
the carriers before Pearl Harbor, was for- 
bidden soon thereafter with respect to all 
shipments destined for the ports or for 
transit storage for eventual shipment over- 
seas. Field transportation officers were di- 
rected to make such requests to The 
Quartermaster General, and later to the 
Chief of Transportation, or to the Army 
regulating stations on the transcontinental 
rail lines in the case of shipments passing 
those points. 68 Requests for the tracing or 
diverting of strictly domestic shipments 
might be made directly to the carriers. 

Central control of the diversion of port- 
bound movements was especially impor- 
tant since uncontrolled changes in desti- 
nations might disrupt a carefully de- 
veloped traffic pattern. During the fiscal 
year 1945 the Control Branch of the 
Traffic Control Division issued approxi- 
mately 5,000 diversion orders. 83 Since 
shipments destined for oversea areas fre- 
quently made close connections with ships 
at the ports of embarkation, the Control 
Branch delegated to the port commanders 
authority to trace shipments destined for 
their installations by direct approach to 
the delivering carriers. 70 

In March 1943 the Ordnance Depart- 
ment requested that the Chief of Trans- 
portation establish an expediting unit in 
its Detroit Tank and Automotive Center 
for the specific purpose of tracing, expedit- 
ing, and reconsigning export shipments 
from that installation. Ordnance pointed 
out that in many instances the center had 
been unable to obtain prompt tracing 

information through the Traffic Control 
Division, and in several instances efforts 
to expedite shipments had been improp- 
erly handled with the result that shipments 
missed deadline dates at the ports. While 
agreeing that there had been some delays 
in obtaining adequate tracing reports from 
the railroads and that some diversion or- 
ders had been bungled, the Chief of Trans- 
portation asserted that the establishment 
of the proposed unit in Detroit would in- 
crease rather than lessen the difficulty. 
One purpose of a central traffic control 
office, he pointed out, was to co-ordinate 
all expediting and tracing of oversea 
movements. To establish a separate office 
at Detroit would partially defeat that pur- 
pose. The Chief of Transportation there- 
fore refused to go along with the proposal, 
but he gave assurance that his office would 
spare no effort to improve performance in 
the delivery of tanks to the seaboard. 71 

Early in 1943, because of the growing 
danger of congestion, the Interstate Com- 
merce Commission at the request of the 
Office of Defense Transportation placed 
an agent in Chicago with authority to 
divert or reroute traffic whenever condi- 
tions might warrant. Initially no military 
freight was exempt from this control, but 
soon immunity was granted to impedi- 

fi7 ICC Special Service Orders 150, 25 Aug 43, and 
151, 1 Sep 43; Min of Port Comdrs Conf, Boston, 30 
Aug 43, pp. 120-2 1, OCT HB PE Gen Port Comdrs 
Conf; Rpt, Traf ContL Div, 22 Jan 45, p. 12, OCT HB 
Traf Contl Div Rpts. 

68 WDCir 273, 31 Dec 41; WD Cir 340, 9 Oct 42; 
AR 55-155, 27 Nov 42, Sec. VIII, and Changes 8, 25 
Aug 44, 

69 Rpt, Traf Contl Div, FY 1945, p. 27, OCT HB 
Traf Contl Div Rpts. 

70 Min of Port and Zone Comdrs Conf, Chicago, 6- 
9 Jul 44, afternoon session, 7 Jul 44, p. 45, OCT HB 
PE Gen Conf. 

71 Memo, DCofOrd for CofT, 30 Mar 43, sub: 
Tracing, Reconsigning, and Expediting; 1st Ind, CofT 
for CO Tank and Automotive Center, 10 Apr 43; both 
in OCT 023 Ordnance. 



menta moving with troops. The Army, 
however, objected to the diversion of any 
military shipments, partly because such 
diversions disturbed schedules that had 
been carefully worked out between the 
Army and the Association of American 
Railroads, and partly because they in- 
volved delays to supplies urgently needed 
at the training camps and in oversea the- 
aters. After a long period of negotiation 
the Chief of Transportation was able to 
have all symbol (expedited) Army ship- 
ments exempted from the diversion orders 
of the Chicago agent. 72 

Because of the large amount of oversize 
equipment included in Army materiel, 
constant attention had to be given to clear- 
ances in making routings and effecting 
diversions. During the war period the 
Traffic Control Division provided routings 
for approximately 600,000 cars that pre- 
sented clearance problems. Since some 
carload freight was routed in the field and 
local transportation officers did not always 
give sufficient attention to clearances, it 
was often necessary to make diversions en 
route, and the Traffic Control Division 
reported that during the fiscal year 1944 
it had rerouted 3,600 cars for this reason. 73 

The large dimensions of Army equip- 
ment frequently necessitated the use of 
routes not specified in the carriers' tariffs. 
Early in the war the Chief of Transporta- 
tion requested the Association of American 
Railroads to arrange that rates applicable 
to normal routings should be allowed in 
such cases, since it was impossible to 
change the dimensions of military para- 
phernalia. The AAR rejected the idea of a 
general agreement on this point because 
in many cases clearance routings were 
costly and troublesome for the railroads, 
but it indicated that the carriers would 

consider the proposal with respect to par- 
ticular shipments that did not impose 
heavy additional obligations on them. 74 
The Traffic Control Division was able to 
influence the design of some marine equip- 
ment procured by the Transportation 
Corps so as to avoid the clearance prob- 
lem, but it could not influence the design 
of equipment procured by the other 
technical services. 75 

Many considerations entered into the 
routing of freight, and the Chief of Trans- 
portation endeavored to keep field trans- 
portation officers who routed small ship- 
ments informed on the subject. His Traffic 
Control Division prepared material, which 
was published from time to time in War 
Department Commercial Traffic Bulletins, 
interpreting and amplifying the directives 
pertaining to traffic, including the routing 
regulations. Commercial Traffic Bulletin 2 
was unique in this series. It was a loose- 
leaf document with a leaf for every Army 
post, camp, and station in the United 
States. In addition to information regard- 
ing the general location and the communi- 
cation connections of each installation, 
Bulletin 2 described the transportation 
lines by which it could be reached and the 
local transportation facilities and pro- 
cedures. 76 

72 ICC Service Order 99, 3 Feb 43; OP T, Civilian 
War Transport, pp. 21-25; Wardlow, op. cit. , |pp. 3 7 2— | 
73. Shipments of military impedimenta were given the 
symbol "MI" and other expedited military shipments 
were given the symbol "MTX." 

" Rpts, Traf Contl Div, FY 1944, p. 8, FY 1945, p. 
10, and 27 Sep 45, Tab 2, p. 2. 

74 Ltr, Traf Contl Div to Augustus F. Cleveland, 
Vice Pres AAR, 1 6 Jul 42, and reply, 21 Jul 42, OCT 

75 OCT HB Monograph 24, pp. 54-55. 

™ AR 30-905, 1 Aug 29, par. 4c; OCT HB Mono- 
graph 6, pp. 122-24; OCT HB Monograph 24, pp. 
53-54. See OCT HB Traf Contl Div Misc for pages 
from Bulletin 2. 



The importance the Chief of Transpor- 
tation attached to strong central control 
over the routing and diversion of Army 
freight was the result of his conviction that 
this was the only way to insure expeditious 
movement and efficient use of transporta- 
tion equipment. That view was justified by 
experience during the early part of World 
War I and in 1940-41, when such control 
was not exercised. Moreover, central con- 
trol of the routing of Army shipments was 
an essential part of the nationwide system 
for controlling the flow of traffic to prevent 

Control of Traffic Flow 

Control of the flow of freight traffic, in 
order to avoid congesting the transporta- 
tion lines and terminals was a military 
necessity. Such control involved not only 
routing shipments so as to spread the 
traffic but also regulating the time of 
movement. The purpose was twofold: to 
assure fluid traffic conditions and prompt 
delivery of shipments, and to avoid the 
waste of transportation equipment that 
inevitably results from congestion. The 
latter object was especially important be- 
cause of the impossibility in wartime of 
obtaining an amount of new transporta- 
tion equipment commensurate with the 
increase in the volume of traffic. Control 
of both domestic and export shipments 
was necessary, but export shipments cre- 
ated the greater problem because they 
converged on relatively few ports and 
their arrival at the seaboard had to be 
co-ordinated with the departure of ships. 

Several aspects of the control of domestic 
freight movements have already been dis- 
cussed. Mention was made of the placing 
of an agent of the Interstate Commerce 
Commission in Chicago to observe condi- 

tions on the western railroads and to divert 
freight traffic when necessary to avoid 
threatened congestion. The Office of De- 
fense Transportation, on the basis of 
reports received from the field, made a 
close study of operating conditions on the 
major rail lines throughout the country 
with a view to taking corrective action 
when and where it might be desirable. 77 
The Association of American Railroads 
kept itself informed regarding conditions 
in all areas, and through its control of the 
distribution and utilization of freight cars 
was able to guide traffic away from over- 
burdened routes or gateways. The Chief 
of Transportation's control over the rout- 
ing of Army freight afforded a means of 
directing military traffic to the carriers 
best able to handle it. As a background 
for this work the Traffic Control Division 
made a daily study of conditions on all 
important railroads, at all important 
gateways, and at the larger Army instal- 
lations. 78 

Embargoes against shipments to points 
or areas where traffic congestion existed or 
was threatened could be imposed by the 
Interstate Commerce Commission or by 
the Car Service Division of the Association 
of American Railroads. Individual rail- 
roads could embargo shipments to points 
on their respective systems. 79 The Chief of 
Transportation had authority to embargo 
shipments to Army installations. 80 The 
embargo power was used when other 
means of preventing congestion had failed, 
or when labor disputes or weather condi- 
tions prevented the normal handling of 
traffic. The congestion that arose in the 

77 See ODT, Civilian War Transport, pp. 17-19. 

78 See summary, Congested Railroad Gateways, in 
ASF MPR, Mar 44, p. 67. 

79 See AAR, Annual Report of the Car Service Division, 
1945, pp. 16, 17. 

80 AR 55-170, 1 Sep 42. 



northeastern states during the winter of 
1944-45 because of unusually severe snow 
and ice conditions was dealt with by the 
imposition of broad embargoes. For a 
period of several weeks the railroads were 
permitted to load only essential military 
and civilian supplies for destinations in 
that area. 81 The embargo, which might 
affect both domestic and export shipments, 
stopped the movement of traffic and hence 
was a measure of last resort. The other 
control measures were designed to keep 
traffic moving and to avoid the necessity 
for embargoes. 

The need for adequate control of port- 
bound shipments was so strikingly demon- 
strated in World War I that it was not 
forgotten during the interval of peace. In 
1917 there was no effective machinery for 
keeping the flow of export freight toward 
the ports commensurate with the capacity 
of shipping to carry it overseas. Each Army 
supply bureau offered its freight to the 
railroad that it had customarily used and 
pressed for early forwarding. The rail- 
roads, competing for traffic as in peace- 
time, accepted the shipments and started 
them on their way without regard to 
traffic conditions at the ports of destina- 
tion. The ports were not accustomed to 
handling such volumes of freight; ware- 
house space was limited and shipping 
space fell far short of the need. As a result, 
more cars arrived at the ports than could 
be unloaded. This continued until the 
backlog of unloaded cars not only filled 
the freight yards in the port areas but also 
glutted the sidings far back from the 
Atlantic seaboard. 82 The cars so immo- 
bilized ceased to serve as transportation 
equipment and became virtually storage 
facilities. The supplies in them were kept 
out of use even though they were urgently 

needed by the forces in Europe. The ports 
found it almost impossible to locate and 
transship supplies that were of high prior- 
ity and therefore loaded the ships with 
what they had at hand. These conditions 
existed throughout 1917 and into 1918. 
They were corrected to a large degree by 
the establishment of an effective release 
system within the Army and the creation 
of the United States Railroad Admin- 
istration and the Shipping Control Com- 
mittee. 83 

Capitalizing on their 1917 experience, 
the railroads took steps to forestall similar 
difficulties as soon as the threat of another 
war appeared. They were in a much better 
position to do this than they had been at 
the outbreak of World War I because closer 
integration of the industry had been 
achieved with the creation of the Associ- 
ation of American Railroads in 1934. The 
first step to protect the ports on the Atlan- 
tic seaboard from congestion was the 
designation of a Manager of Port Traffic 
with headquarters at New York. This 
office, which began functioning in Novem- 
ber 1939, kept traffic conditions at the 
ports under constant observation and 
undertook to co-operate with other trans- 
portation agencies in eliminating the 
causes and forestalling the threat of con- 
gestion. The Military Transportation Sec- 
tion, which the AAR established in August 
1940 and attached to the Army's transpor- 
tation organization, had as its primary 
function collaboration with the military 

For the effect on military shipments, see ASF 
MPRJan 45, p. 14. 

82 William G. McAdoo, Director of Railroads, 
Report to the President (Washington, 3 September 
1918), states that on 1 January 1918, when the gov- 
ernment took control of the railroads, there were 
180,000 more loaded cars on the eastern lines than 
was normal. 

For further discussion, see Wardlow, op. cit., pp. 
1 29-3 1 . | 



branches of the government in working 
out proper routings for their shipments 
and in obtaining prompt deliveries. Both 
offices proved effective instruments in the 
broad system of traffic control that was 
developed after the United States entered 
the war. 84 

The port authorities also were keenly 
interested in arrangements to keep their 
respective areas free from traffic jams, 
which interfered not only with the flow of 
export shipments but also with the receipt 
and distribution of the large tonnages of 
merchandise that metropolitan popula- 
tions require. They were concerned pri- 
marily with the employment of local rail, 
harbor, and storage facilities and the con- 
trol of shipping terminals to prevent their 
utilization for dead storage or other non- 
transportation purposes. At New York, 
which was the first port to feel the effect of 
the large British and French orders for 
war supplies placed in the United States, 
a joint railroad and steamship committee 
was formed under the auspices of the 
Maritime Association of the Port of New 
York. This was an unofficial body that 
undertook to forestall congestion by de- 
tecting unhealthy traffic conditions in the 
early stages of development and by per- 
suading those responsible for such condi- 
tions to take corrective action. Similar 
committees were set up at other ports dur- 
ing 1940 and 1941. Yet it was recognized 
that municipal authorities and civic or- 
ganizations would be able to accomplish 
only limited results in keeping the ports 
fluid in wartime because the bulk of the 
export traffic would move under the spon- 
sorship of the federal government and 
would be beyond the control of local 
agencies. Although several federal offices 
were vitally concerned with the problem — 
including the Transportation Commis- 

sioner of the Advisory Commission to the 
Council of National Defense, the Mari- 
time Commission, and the Army — none 
had sufficient authority at that time to 
deal with it aggressively. 85 

Beginning early in the prewar rearma- 
ment period the Army kept port condi- 
tions under close scrutiny. The Office of 
the Assistant (later Under) Secretary of 
War interested itself in this subject as one 
affecting its responsibility for the procure- 
ment of supplies. 86 The Quartermaster 
General's Transportation Division was 
constantly in touch with developments at 
the ports and the activities of the civilian 
agencies concerned. In April 1941 a 
Traffic Control Branch was established in 
the Transportation Division to study the 
problem, to assist the supply services of the 
Army in arranging for forthcoming freight 
movements, and to recommend such addi- 
tional control measures as might become 
necessary. 87 In the summer of 1941 steps 
were taken to improve the facilities for 
handling the Army's export traffic by 
leasing a large pier in New York Harbor 
for the loading of ammunition, and by 
authorizing the construction of two large 
transit storage facilities where export ship- 
ments that were to move through the 
North Atlantic ports could be held until 

84 See Wardlow, op. cit., bp. 312^131 

85 Memo, Wardlow for Dillon, 8 Aug 41, sub: 
Co-ordination in Use of Port Facilities; Rpt on Gen- 
eral Traf Conditions in the Port of New York; Ltr, 
Wardlow to TQMG, 14 Oct 41 ; notes by author from 
records of Ralph Budd, Transportation Commis- 
sioner, 28 Jun 43; all in OC T HB To pic Traf Contl 
WW II (1); Wardlow, op, cit., \x>. 1 77. | 

86 For a review of early developments, see Memo, 
Brig Gen Harry K. Rutherford for Trans Commis- 
sioner, 16 Oct 40, sub: Plan for Organization of 
Traffic Through Ports, OCT HB Topic Traf Contl 

87 OCT HB Monograph 2 summarizes the work of 
this branch. 



the ports were ready to receive and trans- 
ship them promptly. 88 

During this period there were some who 
favored placing the control of the Army's 
port-bound shipments in the hands of the 
respective port commanders, who would 
make sure that adequate shipping space 
was available before permitting the ship- 
ments to leave their points of origin. The 
Quartermaster General, however, ex- 
pressed the conviction that the control 
should be exercised by his Transportation 
Division. Numerous circumstances sup- 
ported that position. The division had 
direct contact with the General Staff, 
which planned all troop and supply move- 
ments, established priorities, and author- 
ized the necessary transportation facili- 
ties. The division controlled the employ- 
ment of Army transports and engaged all 
commercial shipping space. It had close 
working relations with the inland carriers 
and hence was in the best position to route, 
divert, and expedite port-bound ship- 
ments. Control of the rapidly increasing 
lend-lease traffic, as well as shipments to 
the U.S. forces overseas, was necessary. 
Since lend-lease freight moved over com- 
mercial piers and did not come under the 
jurisdiction of the Army port commanders, 
the control could best be exercised from 
Washington, where the procurement and 
shipping orders were issued. In fact, the 
Commercial Traffic Branch of the Trans- 
portation Division already had in opera- 
tion an informal release system for some 
lend-lease shipments. This system, The 
Quartermaster General believed, could 
readily be expanded to cover all War 
Department port-bound movements. 89 

The control plan proposed by The 
Quartermaster General, and approved by 
the War Department in August 1941, was 
applicable to all carload export shipments 

of the War Department, including lend- 
lease freight but excluding freight accom- 
panying troops. The chiefs of the arms and 
services were required to apply to The 
Quartermaster General for a shipping re- 
lease and routing before starting any such 
shipments to the ports. This requirement 
was applicable to shipments from contrac- 
tors' plants as well as those from Army 
installations. 90 After a routing had been 
worked out and the Commercial Traffic 
Branch had ascertained when vessels 
would be available to load the freight, a 
release was issued authorizing the ship- 
ment to go forward. The release expired 
fifteen days after date of issuance unless a 
longer period of validity was specified. 
Shippers were required to send a "for- 
warding notice" to The Quartermaster 
General when the shipments were started. 
By arrangement with the Association of 
American Railroads the originating car- 
rier notified The Quartermaster General 
by wire when each shipment left the point 
of origin and the delivering carrier re- 
ported the time of arrival at port; abnor- 
mal delays en route were also reported. 

Thus a fairly comprehensive plan to 
control the Army's export shipments was 
established before the United States en- 
tered the war. Until 7 December 1941, 
however, requests for release and routing 
had been filed for only a small proportion 

85 Ammunition piers and intransit storage installa- 
tions (holding and recon signmen t points) are dis- 
cussed at length below, pp. 1 28 1-951 13 7 6-91 J 

"'Memo, H. H. Bartlett for Lasher, 19 Aug 40, 
sub: Control of Inland and Water Shipping; Ltr, 
TQMG to Groninger, NYPE, 19 Jun 41; Memo, 
Maston for Dillon, 17 Jul 41, sub: Gonf Reference 
British Shipping Problems; all in OCT HB Topic 
Traf Contl WW II (1). See OCT HB Monograph 6, 
pp. 27 1-85, for a fuller discussion of developments up 
to August 1941. 

o° WD Cir 182, 28 Aug 41, Sec. IV, par. 15'/ 2 ; OCT 
HB Monograph 6, pp. 285-91. 



of the port-bound shipments. Time was 
required to properly indoctrinate local 
transportation officers in the requirements 
of the new system, and this indoctrination 
did not proceed as swiftly as might have 
been the case because some of the supply 
services were not in favor of vesting such 
broad control in The Quartermaster 
General. 91 

With the attack on Pearl Harbor the 
need for tighter control of port-bound 
shipments was at once evident. The Com- 
mercial Traffic Branch, working around 
the clock, endeavored to keep the situation 
in hand, but it was handicapped by the 
great number of urgent shipments that 
then became necessary, the unfamiliarity 
of most transportation officers with the 
requirements, the many shipments that 
had to be stopped or diverted because of 
the changed circumstances, and the fact 
that the control was not sufficiently 

Prompt measures were taken to improve 
the controls. Since the most urgent ship- 
ments were to the Western Defense Com- 
mand and to the Pacific coast ports for 
transshipment to Pacific bases and the 
port facilities on the Pacific coast were 
limited, regulating stations were estab- 
lished on the transcontinental railroads to 
hold and divert shipments on the instruc- 
tion of the Western Defense Command. 92 
With U.S. entry into the war supply ship- 
ments accompanying troops became an 
important part of oversea traffic, and ac- 
cordingly a clause was inserted in all 
movement orders requiring transportation 
officers to hold such shipments, as well as 
the troops, until they were called forward 
by the port commanders. 93 Late in Janu- 
ary 1942 the release and routing instruc- 
tions were broadened to make them 
applicable to shipments by all War De- 

partment agencies to any port or to any 
general depot adjoining a port, whether 
the supplies were for oversea or domestic 
use, and to shipments by contractors on 
commercial as well as on War Department 
bills of lading. 94 

The Army recognized that control of its 
own port-bound traffic, however com- 
plete, would not be enough to avoid port 
congestion; over-all control was necessary. 
The military authorities could not take 
action concerning the movement of com- 
mercial export freight, but they could and 
did seek to bring shipments of lend-lease 
supplies by other government agencies 
under some form of regulation. As the 
result of conferences called by the Army, 
the Treasury Department and the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture, which were supply- 
ing large quantities of lend-lease materials, 
agreed that such materials would not be 
shipped to the ports unless there was 
assurance that they could be promptly 
transshipped overseas; they also agreed to 
honor any requests by the Army that it 
deemed necessary to make the arrange- 
ment effective. Col. Theodore H. Dillon, 
chief of the Transportation Division, 
OQMG, was designated the agent of the 
War Department through which such 
requests would be made. He, in turn, 

91 See Memo for Record Only, attached to DF, 
ACofS G-4 for TAG, 14 Aug 41, sub: Changes in AR 
30-905, and pars. 6 and 8, AG 500 (5-27-29)(l), 
Sec. III. 

92 Memo, TAG for Cs of Supply Arms and Services, 
1 3 Dec 4 1 , sub: Designation of W DC as Theater of 
Opns, AG 320.2 (12-13-41); Memo, TAG for CG 
WDC, 13 Dec 41, same sub and file number; Memo, 
TAG for GofA AF, CGs Armies, et al„ 19 Dec 4 1 , sub : 
Regulating Stations, AG 320.2 (12-19-41). 

93 OCT HB Monograph 6, p. 297. 

94 Memo, TAG for CG Eastern Theater of Opns, 
CG WDC, etal., 26 Jan 42, sub: Control of Freight 
Shipments, AG 523.01 (1-24-42); Memo, Dillon for 
Col Clarence H. Kells and Lasher, 2 Feb 42, same 
sub, OCT HB Topic Traf Contl WW II (2). 



designated the chairman of The Quarter- 
master General's Transportation Advisory 
Group to maintain day-to-day contact 
with the transportation officers of the 
Treasury and Agriculture Departments, 
and also with the Maritime Commission 
and the Association of American Rail- 
roads, to insure that the plan was carried 
into effect. 95 Although the arrangement 
proved helpful in co-ordinating freight 
movements to the ports with the avail- 
ability of ships to load them, it did not 
apply to commercial traffic and it did not 
afford the positive control over the origi- 
nation of shipments by Treasury and 
Agriculture that the situation required. 

Lack of adequate control over port- 
bound traffic when the United States 
entered the war resulted almost immedi- 
ately in congestion at the two principal 
ports, New York and San Francisco. At 
New York, the number of railway cars on 
hand with freight for water shipment — a 
number that had been growing steadily 
during the fall — increased from 9,445 on 
5 December to a peak of 12,282 on 27 De- 
cember 1941. The number of carloads of 
freight held in railroad-controlled storage 
also increased substantially. The problem 
of congestion was intensified by the neces- 
sity of temporarily holding War Depart- 
ment lend-lease shipments at the port in 
order to determine what materiel should 
be withdrawn for the use of the U.S. 
Army, by disturbed shipping schedules, 
and by bad weather, which adversely 
affected port operations. Because of the 
extensive facilities of New York Harbor 
and the corrective measures that were 
taken, the situation did not become criti- 
cal. But it was threatening and the Army 
used all means at its disposal to prevent it 
from becoming worse. The movement of 
some War Department shipments was de- 

ferred; some freight already at the port 
was moved to the new transit storage facil- 
ities (later called holding and reconsign- 
ment points), which were far enough 
advanced to permit limited operations, 
and to ground storage outside the port. 
Some vessels that were to have loaded 
lend-lease supplies at New York were 
diverted to other North Atlantic ports. 96 
The situation at San Francisco was far 
more serious and more time was required 
to correct it. The rail facilities in the San 
Francisco Bay area were less adequate 
than at New York and soon became 
jammed, but freight continued to pour in. 
The need for equipment and supplies at 
the Pacific bases was urgent. San Fran- 
cisco was the supply center for the West- 
ern Defense Command and a general 
depot was located there. The supply serv- 
ices were being pressed to make shipments 
and gave little heed to conditions at the 
port. Marking and documentation were 
often inadequate causing confusion and 
delay in transshipment. Time was required 
to bring ships into position to load the 
greatly increased volume of cargo. There 
were no transit storage facilities back of 
the Pacific seaboard as there were in the 

The number of loaded cars on hand in 
the San Francisco Bay area reached a 
peak of 3,208 on 12 January 1942, then 
declined gradually. The improvement 
was accomplished by stopping all oversea 
shipments at the regulating stations until 

95 Two memos for record by Col Dillon, both dated 
1 2 Dec 4 1 , distributed to alt agencies concerned, OCT 
HB Topic Traf Contl WW II (2). 

96 Statements concerning the port conditions in 
this and following paragraphs are based on the 
author's general knowledge from his activities as 
chairman of the Transportation Advisory Group and 
on notes and data in OCT HB Topic Traf Contl WW 
II (l)and (2). 

moving to Portland, Oregon, to be assembled and shipped to the Soviet Union ( above ); boxed 
diesel locomotives on fiatcars (below ). 



they could be cleared by the San Fran- 
cisco Port of Embarkation, and by moving 
many loaded cars out of the port area to 
cities where sidings were available. With 
a view to the future, immediate steps were 
taken by the Army and the railroads to 
increase rail trackage at the port. Steps 
were also taken to remove the general 
depot from San Francisco so that the rail- 
roads in the port area would not be bur- 
dened with supplies intended for consump- 
tion in the Western Defense Command. 97 
While the danger of congestion at New 
York and San Francisco caused the greatest 
anxiety, the problem also arose at other 
ports as additional ships were assigned to 
them for loading. Soon after the decision 
was made that lend-lease supplies destined 
for northern Soviet ports would be loaded 
at Boston, the accumulation of loaded cars 
became troublesome. When this traffic 
began moving through Philadelphia, that 
port became so glutted that in early 
March radical measures were necessary 
to relieve it. One phase of the problem at 
Boston and Philadelphia — and also at 
New York, where most British lend-lease 
shipments were handled — was that the 
representatives of the nations receiving 
such shipments wanted large "banks" of 
well diversified freight in the ports at all 
times so that there would never be delay 
in loading ships with the supplies that the 
receiving governments at the moment 
considered of highest priority. But not all 
of the difficulty was traceable to lend- 
lease shipments. In February and March 
the port of New Orleans became severely 
congested with War Department freight 
destined for the Caribbean bases and the 
Panama Canal because the Maritime 
Commission was not able to assign as 
many vessels to these routes as had been 
expected. 98 

As has been indicated, the basic cause 
of the port congestion that developed im- 
mediately after Pearl Harbor was the lack 
of a release system that could positively 
control the port-bound movement of all 
export freight — lend-lease and commer- 
cial, as well as military. Up to that point 
no federal agency possessed the necessary 
authority, and accordingly no plans were 
laid for a full-fledged control system. Ten 
days after Pearl Harbor the President in- 
vested such authority in the Office of 
Defense Transportation, which he estab- 
lished at that time." 

Although power to control traffic was 
thus provided, time was required to estab- 
lish adequate machinery. The Army 
already had machinery in operation that 
was proving increasingly effective in the 
regulation of its own traffic, and it did not 
want that machinery scrapped. Neither 
did the Army want to turn the control of 
its vital supply movements over to another 
agency. Civilian agencies, on the other 
hand, were afraid to allow the military 
authorities to exercise over-all control. 
During the early weeks of 1942, while such 
means as were available were being 
utilized to deal with the constant threat of 
port congestion, representatives of the 
Office of Defense Transportation, the 

97 Data and notes in OCT HB Topic Traf Contl 
WW II; Hist Record, SFPE, 1941-42, pp. 88-90, 
OCT HB SFPE Gen; Memos, CG SFPE for ACofS 
G-4, 4 and 10 Jan 42, sub: Rail Congestion; Memo, 
ACofS G-4 for TAG, 16 Jan 42, sub: Oversea Shipts 
Through SF; Memo, ACofS G-4 for TAG, 18 Jan 42, 
sub: Diverting Shipts from SFPE and SFGD; Memo, 
ACofS G-4 for TAG, 31 Jan 42, sub: Cessation 
of Depot Activities; last five in G-4/33867-1. 

98 OCT HB Monograph 6, p. 3 14. 

99 EO 8989, 18 Dec 41, par. 3d, directed the ODT, 
in co-operation with the Maritime Commission and 
other appropriate agencies, to "co-ordinate domestic 
traffic movements with ocean shipping in order to 
avoid terminal congestion at port areas and to main- 
tain a maximum flow of traffic." 



Maritime Commission (later, the War 
Shipping Administration), and the Army 
conferred repeatedly in an effort to devise 
a comprehensive control system that 
would satisfy all concerned. 100 

The principles of a control system were 
approved by the Army, the War Shipping 
Administration, and the Office of Defense 
Transportation in mid-March. 101 The 
agreement recognized the War Shipping 
Administration as the agency to allocate 
vessels to meet the various military and 
civilian requirements in accordance with 
established priorities, and to determine, in 
collaboration with the other agencies con- 
cerned, the ports at which vessels would 
load. The Office of Defense Transporta- 
tion, in collaboration with the other agen- 
cies, would determine the amount of 
freight that might be shipped to the re- 
spective ports and issue releases for these 
shipments. The War Department would 
provide inland routings and shipment per- 
mits for its own freight and that of such 
other government agencies as might 
authorize it to do so. An agency would be 
designated to issue permits for shipments 
not covered by the War Department sys- 
tem. The joint interests of the participat- 
ing agencies would be administered by a 
committee of four consisting of an Army 
officer and representatives of the Office of 
Defense Transportation, the War Ship- 
ping Administration, and the British 
Ministry of War Transport. A representa- 
tive of the BMWT was included because 
of the large number of ships that that 
organization controlled and the large vol- 
ume of cargo that was being forwarded to 
the British Isles under lend-lease. 

After several weeks of further planning, 
the Office of Defense Transportation 
issued instructions that established a re- 
lease or permit system covering all carload, 

truckload, or bargeload shipments to the 
ports, whether the freight was for imme- 
diate export or for storage prior to trans- 
shipment and whether it was for govern- 
ment or private account. 102 These instruc- 
tions, which were effective 1 June 1942, 
placed upon the carriers the responsibility 
of refusing shipments not covered by 
permits. 103 The railroads, through the Car 
Service Division of the Association of 
American Railroads, met this responsibil- 
ity by placing an embargo on the loading 
of all export shipments except those for 
which permits had been issued, as evi- 
denced by notation of the permit number 
on the shipping document. The motor 
and water carriers depended on individ- 
ual action to enforce the permit require- 
ment. 104 

The committee of four authorized in 
the basic agreement became known as the 
Transportation Control Committee and 
was the agency through which the details 
of the control system were worked out. It 
was soon evident that the Navy should be 
represented, and a fifth member accord- 
ingly was added. The Army representa- 

100 Memo, Gross for Somervell, 12 Mar 42, sub: 
Regulation of Defense Aid Trans at Ports; Memo, 
Somervell for USW, 13 Mar 42; both in OCT HB 
Topic Traf Contl WW II (2). 

101 Plan presented by Mr. Douglas (WSA) and 
approved by Gen Somervell, 18 Mar 42, OCT HB 
Wylie TCC. The approval of Mr. Eastman, Director 
of the ODT, was obtained separately. 

102 p or various memos for planning, see OCT HB 
Wylie Trans Contl Com. 

103 ODT Instructions 1, 23 May 42, was superseded 
by ODT GO 16, 6 Jul 42, which was modified from 
time to time with respect to scope and details of pro- 
cedure. See ODT GO 1 6- A, 10 Mar 44; ODT AO 1 7, 
10 Mar 44; ODT GO 16-B, 12 Sep 44; ODT AO 
17-A, 12 Sep 44; and ODT exception orders issued 
from time to time; all in file labeled ODT Regula- 
tions Regarding Control of Traffic, in ODT HB Topic 
ODT. For Army regulations see WD Cir 300, 4 Sep 
42, Sec. II; AR 55-105, 29 Dec 42, par. 16; WD TM 
38-415, 22 Jun 44. 

104 OCT HB Monograph 23, pp. 9, 10. 



tive was General Wylie, Assistant Chief of 
Transportation for Operations. Col. John 
E. Craig was designated executive officer, 
and assumed responsibility for the detailed 
management of the committee's affairs. 
He was assisted by a small staff provided 
by the Chief of Transportation. The Army 
also provided office space for the activity. 
After committee procedures had been 
established, the members met almost daily 
to consider information regarding traffic 
conditions at the ports and at inland gate- 
ways, and to take any action that might 
appear necessary in connection with the 
general traffic situation or particular ship- 
ments. The committee's decisions on 
measures necessary to maintain healthy 
traffic conditions were placed in effect by 
the participating agencies. General Wylie 
followed the work of the committee closely 
but did not attend the meetings; the 
Army's interests therefore were repre- 
sented by Colonel Craig, who was at all 
times in close contact with Generals Gross 
and Wylie. 105 

The first step in the control of port- 
bound freight traffic was the issuance of 
monthly block releases by the Transporta- 
tion Control Committee. These releases 
indicated the total tonnage that might be 
moved during the month to each port by 
each procuring agency. The tonnages 
were determined by the committee after 
consideration of the amount of export 
freight that the procuring agencies ex- 
pected to have available for shipment to 
each oversea destination, the capacity of 
the ships the War Shipping Administra- 
tion and the British Ministry of War 
Transport expected to have ready to load 
at the respective ports, and the conditions 
prevailing at railway and shipping termi- 
nals. These block releases, and any 
changes in them that the committee might 

find desirable, were issued with ODT au- 
thority and became binding on the agen- 
cies authorized by the ODT to issue unit 
permits for individual shipments. 105 

Unit permits for individual shipments 
were issued by several offices. By far the 
largest volume of freight was permitted by 
the Chief of Transportation's Traffic Con- 
trol Division, which performed this func- 
tion not only for supplies procured by the 
War Department but also for those pro- 
cured by other agencies of the federal 
government, except supplies for the U.S. 
Navy. Thus, under the new permit system 
the great bulk of export shipments of fed- 
eral property was brought under the 
Army's release and routing system, which 
had been established before the United 
States became a belligerent. The Traffic 
Control Division had experienced per- 
sonnel, tested procedures, and private 
telephone and teletype connections with 
the ports and some other field installa- 
tions. This machinery could not have 
been duplicated by the Office of Defense 
Transportation or any other agency with- 
out great expense and some delay. The 
decision to entrust to the Traffic Control 
Division the issuance of unit permits for 
the bulk of the export traffic was therefore 
both logical and practical. Permits for 
shipments for the U.S. Navy were under 

105 The discussion of the work of the Transportation 
Control Committee and related activities is based, 
except as otherwise indicated, on two reports prepared 
by Colonel Craig: Transportation Control Commit- 
tee, Its Origin, Mission, and Performance, 29 Aug 45, 
and Summary of Activities of the TCC, 24 Oct 45, 
both in OCT HB Topic Trans Contl Com. The latter 
report includes copies of ODT directives, working 
papers of the TCC, and samples of minutes. Time 
and space are not afforded for a study of the records 
of committee's daily activities, which are incorporated 
in OCT HB File. 

106 The terms "block release" and "unit permit" 
were made official by ODT GO 16- A, 10 Mar 44, 
but they were in use earlier. 



the control of the Navy Department, al- 
though authority for issuance was decen- 
tralized to the naval districts. Permits for 
commercial shipments were issued ini- 
tially by the War Shipping Administra- 
tion and later by the Association of 
American Railroads. 107 

Usually the Traffic Control Division 
issued permits in response to requests from 
the headquarters of the procuring serv- 
ices, which then transmitted the permit 
numbers to the actual shippers so that 
they might be entered on the bills of lad- 
ing. In the beginning a permit established 
only the date before which shipment could 
not be made. It developed, however, that 
the procuring services often were too 
optimistic in estimating when specific 
supplies would be ready to move, and 
their arrival at the ports was long delayed. 
Consequently, expiration dates were in- 
cluded in all permits issued after Decem- 
ber 1942. 108 As explained by Col. H. 
Gordon Randall, chief of the Control 
Branch, under whose supervision permits 
were issued, the spread between initial 
and expiration dates varied according to 
circumstances. In some cases the period 
was as much as thirty days, but in other 
cases only three or four days. The distance 
between the point of origin and the port 
had a bearing on the matter, but the rela- 
tive urgency of the shipment and the con- 
dition of the port were the main consider- 
ations. 109 

Before unit permits were issued the per- 
mitting agencies received assurance from 
the ports that shipping would be available 
so that the cargo could be loaded 
promptly. With respect to supplies des- 
tined for U.S. Army forces this assurance 
took the form of a call from the Army port 
commander at whose installation the 
freight would be transshipped. The Traffic 

Control Division maintained close con- 
tact with the port organizations and with 
the Water Division in the Office of the 
Chief of Transportation in order to insure 
that the initial and expiration dates on 
unit permits were realistic. Copies of the 
permits were sent to the ports concerned. 
With respect to lend-lease shipments, for- 
warding authorization serial numbers 
(FAS's) were issued by forwarding corpo- 
rations that were established by the War 
Shipping Administration to assist the gov- 
ernments receiving lend-lease aid in mov- 
ing such supplies overseas. The FAS's 
proved less reliable than the Army port 
calls, and the Traffic Control Division had 
frequent occasion to check with Army 
port agencies or with the War Shipping 
Administration regarding the availability 
of shipping space before issuing unit 
releases for lend-lease freight. 110 

While the carloads of freight released 
for shipment to the U.S. Army overseas 
increased as the war advanced, lend-lease 
shipments declined somewhat. During the 
first half of 1945 shipments for the Army 
constituted almost 75 percent of the total. 

The Transportation Control Committee 
kept the traffic situation throughout the 
country under observation from day to 
day, not only with respect to the ports but 
also with respect to the rail lines and the 
important inland terminals. It undertook 
to insure that the monthly block releases 

107 Special types of permits were issued for ship- 
ments to be stored in the port areas before being 
exported and for shipments of export freight within 
the port areas. See OCT Cir 78, 13 Nov 42, sub: 
ODT Block and Storage Permits. 

108 OCT Traf Bulletin 4, 17 Dec 42, OCT HB 
Topic Traf Contl WW II (3). 

109 Interv with Col Randall, 24 Oct 51, OCT HB 
Topic Trans Contl WW II (3); OCT HB Monograph 
23, pp. 24, 25. 

110 OCT HB Monograph 23, pp. 77-80. 



Table 18 — Carloads of Freight Released by Traffic Control Division for 
Shipment to Ports: July 1943-June 1945 


Total Carload* 

For the Army 

War Department 

Other Lend- Lease 

511, 756 

242, 826 


178, 873 


396, 203 


156, 930 




138, 677 


601, 237 

57, 381 

147, 703 

Souret: Monthly Summary, WD and Lend-Leate Can of Export Freight Released to Pom, prepared by Transport Economic* Section, 
Traffic Control Division, OCT, reworked for statistical volume of this series. 

were not exceeded by the shipments for 
which unit permits were issued. When 
traffic conditions made it necessary, the 
block releases were revised. Particular 
shipments were diverted or held back, 
and in some cases unit permits were can- 
celed if the circumstances warranted. The 
diversion of a shipment might involve a 
change of destination port or rerouting to 
one of the Army's holding and reconsign- 
ment points, of which there were eventu- 
ally ten. 111 Diversions were made not only 
to avoid congestion but also to comply 
with changes in military or lend-lease 
priorities. Hold or diversion orders on ac- 
count of traffic conditions were issued by 
the Transportation Control Committee 
with great circumspection, and only after 
consultation with the military and lend- 
lease authorities concerned. 

In their effort to keep the traffic that 
flowed into the ports commensurate with 
the capacity of shipping to outload it, the 
Transportation Control Committee and 
the Traffic Control Division endeavored 
to take into account all circumstances that 
might affect port operations. For example, 
during the late fall of 1944, when a large 
backlog of ships awaiting discharge at 
northern European ports necessitated re- 
ducing the sailings from U.S. Atlantic 

ports, releases of port-bound shipments 
were reduced accordingly. Allowance was 
made for the effect of the 1944 Christmas 
holiday season on the supply of railway 
and longshore labor at the ports. During 
the severe weather that crippled rail and 
port operations in the North Atlantic 
areas in the early weeks of 1945, ship- 
ments to the ports were correspondingly 
curtailed. The affect of V-E Day on the 
movement of supplies through the North 
Atlantic ports and the increase in ship- 
ments to Pacific ports after the end of the 
war in Europe were taken into account in 
planning port-bound freight movements. 
Whenever a transfer of ships from the 
more heavily to the less heavily burdened 
ports could be worked out in collabora- 
tion with the War Shipping Administra- 
tion, this was done. 112 

General Gross followed the activities of 
the Transportation Control Committee 
and the Traffic Control Division closely. 
He believed that their procedures were 

1.1 Operation and utilization of hold ing and recon - 
signment points are discussed below, |pp. 28 1-95.| 

1.2 Interv with Col Craig, 15 Mar 45; Memos, 
Craig for Williamson, 14 Dec 44, 3 1 Jan 45, 2 Feb 45; 
all in OCT HB Topic TCC; Memo, Williamson for 
Finlay, 26 Jul 45, OCT HB Topic Traf Contl WW II 
(3); Trans Contl Com, Its Origin, Mission, and Per- 
formance, Sec. II, p, 7, OCT HB Topic TCC. 



sound and that they were capable of pro- 
viding whatever regulation was necessary 
to keep port conditions healthy. He par- 
ticularly liked the flexibility of their con- 
trol, and stressed the fact that they were 
concerned as much with getting enough 
freight to the ports to fill the ships properly 
as they were with preventing the ports 
from becoming glutted with cargo. He 
accordingly opposed the use of embargoes 
as a means of protecting the ports except 
in extreme circumstances. Although he 
recognized the difficulties experienced 
with shipments to the Soviet Union be- 
cause of changing priorities and also 
believed that the British maintained un- 
necessarily large banks of cargo at the 
ports, he did not consider the imposition 
of embargoes against shipments of such 
supplies to be the proper method of cor- 
recting the situation. General Gross also 
opposed action by the ODT to reduce the 
demurrage-free time for cars held at 
North Atlantic ports; he felt that such an 
effort to cut down the banks would not 
improve conditions but would only in- 
crease the cost to the shippers. 113 

One aspect of the battle against conges- 
tion was the effort to reduce the number 
of cars detained at the ports for exception- 
ally long periods. During the latter part of 

1942 cars of export freight were held 
under load at all ports an average of about 
eight days. During the winter months of 

1943 the average was about twelve days 
because of increased traffic and adverse 
weather. In August 1943, the Transporta- 
tion Control Committee began a cam- 
paign to insure that the monthly average 
of car detention did not exceed seven days 
at any port. The goal was not attained at 
all ports at all times, but in general the 
effort was successful. After the goal was 

set the all-ports average exceeded seven 
days only in January 1944, when it was 
7.2 days. The general improvement in car 
detention can be illustrated by comparing 
the all-ports averages for July in the re- 
spective years: in July 1942 it was 9.5 
days, in July 1943 it was 6.3 days, and in 
July 1944 it was 3.9 days. 114 

Throughout the war the Transportation 
Control Committee gave special attention 
to cars detained in ports longer than ten 
days. It did not succeed in eliminating 
ten-day cars, but a marked reduction was 
accomplished. During the first nine 
months of 1 945 ten-day cars averaged well 
under 10 percent of the total cars on 
hand. 115 Despite the general improvement 
some cars were held under load thirty 
days or more because of unusual circum- 
stances. 118 

The campaign against car detention 
was complemented by an effort to reduce 
the bank or accumulation of export freight 
in railroad hands at the ports. The bank 
on a given day was measured by dividing 
the number of carloads in port "on 
wheels" and in railroad storage by the 
daily average of carloads loaded into ships 
during the preceding week. A five-day 

113 Ltr, Somervell to Eastman, Dir ODT, drafted 
6 Aug 42, but not sent in view of conversation be- 
tween Gen Wylie and a representative of the ODT, 
OCT HB Gross ODT; Ltr, USW to Sen Harley Kil- 
gore, 3 Nov 43, OCT HB Topic Kilgore Rpt; Ltr, 
Gross to Johnson, ICC, 8 Mar 44, OCT 504; Ltr, 
USW to Charles D. Young, ODT, 29 Mar 44; Ltr, 
Gross to Johnson, ODT, 5 Apr 44; last two in OCT 
HB Gross ODT. 

114 Trans Contl Com, Its Origin, Mission, and Per- 
formance, Sec. II, p. 4, and Ex. D, OCT HB Topic 

1,5 Frequent studies in monthly issues of ASF MPR, 
Sec. 3, 1944 and 1945; ASF Statistical Review, World 
War II, p. 119. 

116 Study for 1943, ASF MPR, Dec 43, Sec. 3, p. 46; 
Weekly Memos, Traf Contl Div for Contl Div, in 
OCT 562.5 Cars on Wheels. 



bank was considered healthy by the Chief 
of Transportation, and that level was 
achieved for Army cargo but not for lend- 

Reduction of the bank assumed special 
importance at New York in the spring of 
1944 because of the impending invasion 
of the European continent and the pos- 
sibility of greatly increased Army ship- 
ments through that port. Although some 
progress had already been made, General 
Gross insisted that the Transportation 
Control Committee direct its efforts 
toward further reduction of the British 
and Soviet lend-lease banks and mainte- 
nance of a more consistent relationship 
between the number of carloads permit- 
ted to arrive at the port and the capacity 
of the shipping available to lift the car- 
goes. He used a study of operations at 
New York, prepared at his request in 
April, to support his position. The study 
showed that month by month during the 
past year the average Army bank had 
been under or only slightly above five 
days, while the British lend-lease bank 
had never been less than ten days and the 
Soviet bank had fluctuated widely. The 
data indicated that the control of export 
traffic flow had been more successful in 
the case of Army freight than in that of 
lend-lease, but the study also pointed out 
that the Army had an advantage in keep- 
ing its bank low, because its port com- 
manders had large warehouse and open 
storage spaces in their establishments and 
were therefore less dependent on the rail- 
roads for holding freight than were the 
lend-lease agencies. 117 

There was a difference of opinion, even 
within the Office of the Chief of Transpor- 
tation, as to how large the banks could be 
without endangering the fluidity of the 
ports and how much they could be re- 

duced without handicapping the British 
and the Russians in getting the supplies 
that their changing priorities called for 
and in loading their ships to capacity. 
The point ceased to be a critical one after 
the invasion of Europe had been success- 
fully accomplished. The average bank of 
all export freight on wheels at the princi- 
pal ports during certain months when 
operations were not affected by bad 
weather was as follows: 118 

Number Days' 
Month of Ports Bank 

September 1942 16 8.5 

March 1943 17 5.8 

September 1943 13 5.6 

March 1944 19 4.9 

September 1944 19 4.5 

March 1945 19 4.3 

July 1945 19 3.5 

In policing the nationwide traffic situ- 
ation the Transportation Control Com- 
mittee was aided by the field organiza- 
tions of all the participating agencies, as 
well as those of the Association of Amer- 
ican Railroads. Reports from the various 
sources were co-ordinated by the execu- 
tive officer and presented to the committee 
at its daily meetings . Since the greatest 
danger of congestion was at the seaboard, 
AAR reports showing carloads of export 
freight on wheels at the ports, carloads 
unloaded, and carloads in railroad storage 
were essential to the functioning of the 
committee. Colonel Craig used the Army 
port agencies extensively in his effort to go 
back of the statistics to develop a reliable 

1,7 Analysis of Shipping and Export Freight at the 
Port of New York From April 1943, prepared April 
1944; Memo, Gross for Wylie, Craig, et al., 1 May 44; 
both in OCT HB Topic Traf Contl WW II (3). 

118 Trans Contl Com, Its Origin, Mission, and Per- 
formance, Ex. F; ASF Statistical Review, World War II, 
p. 119. Monthly data segregating ports appear in cer- 
tain issues of ASF MPR, Sec. 3, e.g., Dec 44, p. 30. 



estimate of the actual and potential situ- 
ation in any area that was threatened 
with congestion. The port agency was the 
successor to the commercial traffic 
agency, which was introduced in the fall 
of 1941 for the specific purpose of dealing 
with lend-lease shipments at the ports to 
insure that they were transshipped 
promptly and in good order. The officers 
in charge of the port agencies worked in 
close co-ordination with all other trans- 
portation and traffic representatives at the 
ports, and were members of the port con- 
ditions committees that were established 
in many places. They therefore were in- 
formed on conditions affecting all traffic, 
not merely lend-lease. 119 

The Army regulating stations on the 
transcontinental rail lines were of great 
service in maintaining fluid traffic condi- 
tions on the Pacific coast. When they were 
established soon after Pearl Harbor, there 
were no holding and reconsignment 
points in the western states, and these sta- 
tions were in a sense a substitute. But even 
after holding and reconsignment points 
were functioning in Washington and Cal- 
ifornia, the regulating stations had an im- 
portant role in protecting the seaboard 
from congestion. In addition to the orig- 
inal stations at Spokane, Ogden, Salt 
Lake City, Albuquerque, and El Paso, 
substations were set up as required in 
other cities on the transcontinental routes. 
The Traffic Control Division furnished 
the regulating stations with information 
regarding shipments released for move- 
ment over the lines on which the stations 
were located; consignors sent these stations 
copies of bills of lading for such shipments; 
and the railroads kept them posted on the 
location of cars moving in their direction. 
When cars passed the regulating stations, 
the stations wired reports to the con- 

signees so that they might prepare for 
prompt handling of the freight. When so 
ordered the regulating stations requested 
the railroads to hold or divert cars. Hold 
orders were issued at first by the Western 
Defense Commands and later by the ports 
of embarkation. For a short time the 
Western Defense Command issued diver- 
sion orders in its own discretion. These 
orders upset the traffic planning of the 
Traffic Control Division, and early in the 
war the Western Defense Command was 
instructed not to change the destination of 
shipments without the approval of the di- 
vision unless a military emergency should 
arise. 120 

After the hectic days that immediately 
followed the outbreak of war, the regu- 
lating stations served primarily as agents 
of the Traffic Control Division in diverting 
shipments from port to port or to holding 
and reconsignment points. Such diver- 
sions frequently were made at the request 
of the Transportation Control Commit- 
tee. 121 Troop cars and motor trucks came 
under the cognizance of the regulating 
stations, but railway freight was their 
major concern. Regulating stations were 
used to control Navy shipments as well as 
Army and lend-lease shipments. During 
the period of hostilities more than 3,300,- 
000 carloads of freight were reported as 
passing the regulating stations. 122 

119 Wardlow, op. at., pp. 1 1 1 1-121 |l 22[ OCT HB 
Monograph 23, pp. 80-81; numerous documents in 
OCT HB TZ Gen Port Agencies. 

■so OCT HB Monograph 6, pp. 326-31, discusses 
the operation of regulating stations. 

121 Memo, TAG for GofAAF, et aL, 19 Dec 41, sub: 
Reg Sta, AG 320.2 (12-19-41) is the basic directive; 
see also various directives and documents in OCT HB 
TZ Gen Reg Stas. 

122 ASF MPR, Aug 45, Sec. 3, p. 12; monthly sum- 
maries, Freight Cars Passing Reg Sta, prepared by 
Reg Sta Br, Traf Contl Div, OCT, reworked for sta- 
tistical volume of this series. 



While endeavoring to prevent an exces- 
sive amount of export freight from moving 
into the ports, those concerned with the 
problem of congestion gave their attention 
also to the removal from the ports of so- 
called frustrated shipments. Much of this 
cargo had accumulated as the result of 
changed conditions following the out- 
break of war in Europe, but there were 
also shipments that had lodged at the 
ports after the United States entered the 
war as the result of the withdrawal of 
steamship services to certain oversea areas, 
the failure to obtain export permits, and 
the changed lend-lease priorities. The 
closing of the Burma Road in the spring of 
1942 left a considerable quantity of Chi- 
nese lend-lease cargo stranded at Newport 
News, Virginia. Some of the frustrated 
shipments were held in rail cars, but most 
of them had been consigned to port stor- 
age. In either case this dead freight occu- 
pied space needed for current exports; in 
addition, some of the commodities were 
needed by the war industries. The Army 
began working on the problem imme- 
diately after Pearl Harbor, but many of 
the shipments were not under its control. 
In June 1942 the Office of Defense Trans- 
portation authorized its Division of Rail- 
way Transport to order the removal of 
any such cargo from the ports. Later, the 
ODT authorized its regional directors to 
order the unloading of any cars that were 
being used for storage purposes. These 
authorizations covered both government 
and commercial shipments, but unload- 
ing orders were not issued for government 
freight until the appropriate federal 
agencies had been consulted. A consider- 
able amount of this frustrated cargo was 
sent to Army holding and reconsignment 
points until other disposition could be 
made. The Transportation Corps' interest 

in this matter was represented by the 
Traffic Control Division at headquarters 
and by the port agencies in the field. 123 

As has been indicated, the control sys- 
tem initially required permits for truck- 
load and bargeload shipments to the 
ports, as well as for carloads. The volume 
of freight arriving by highway and water 
did not justify the arrangement and it was 
discontinued in September 1944. 124 In the 
meantime, however, trouble had been ex- 
perienced with truck deliveries at the New 
York Port of Embarkation, and local 
measures had been taken to control this 
traffic. The problems arose because of the 
limited facilities for discharging trucks at 
the piers, the difficulty of determining in 
advance at which piers deliveries should 
be made, and the street congestion in the 
vicinity of the Army port facilities. To 
meet the situation, special highway control 
stations were set up in June 1943 along the 
principal routes leading into New York 
City, and a central control station was 
established in the city. Truck drivers ap- 
proaching the city stopped at the highway 
control stations to telephone the central 
station to obtain clearance before pro- 
ceeding. This arrangement made it possi- 
ble for the port authorities to prevent 
vehicles from arriving before they could 
be discharged and to provide definite in- 
formation regarding the terminals at 
which deliveries should be made. In many 
cases police escorts were provided to in- 
sure prompt delivery of urgent freight. 
Drivers using highways on which there 

123 Memo, CofT for Clay, 10 Jul 42, sub: Delayed 
Traffic Awaiting Export, OCT 563.5; Rpt, NYPA, 
Jul 42, OCT HB TZ NYPA; ODT GOs 1 2, 27 Jun 

42, and 12-A, 5 Jan 43; SOS Memo, S 270-1-43, 5 Feb 

43, sub: Clearance of Shipts; TC Cir 50-49, 9 Sep 44, 
sub: Frustrated Cargo Report; OCT HB Monograph 
23, pp. 14-15, 86-93. 

134 ODT GO 16-B, 12 Sep 44. 



were no control stations were instructed to 
make their calls from any telephones 
available. 125 Similar control of truck de- 
liveries to the west coast ports was pro- 
vided by the regulating stations. 

In summing up his experience with the 
Transportation Control Committee, Colo- 
nel Craig observed that there had been 
little difficulty with military traffic; 
although the committee had taken action 
from time to time with regard to ship- 
ments by the Army and the Navy, in gen- 
eral their releases to the ports and disposi- 
tion of cargo at the ports had been well 
managed. The principal difficulties had 
arisen in connection with lend-lease 
freight. The pprts through which this 
freight was routed were changed re- 
peatedly, necessitating extensive diver- 
sions of shipments. The British handled 
their transportation arrangements effi- 
ciently, but their insistence on maintain- 
ing large banks of cargo at the ports was a 
cause for concern. The Russians, unlike 
the British, did not have an experienced 
shipping organization in the United 
States, and their practices in ordering 
cargo forward and loading the ships were 
often troublesome to those responsible for 
maintaining fluid traffic conditions. Par- 
ticular difficulty with freight for the Soviet 
Union was experienced at Portland, Ore- 
gon, where most of the transpacific vessels 
were loaded. In addition to other prob- 
lems, the employment of old Soviet vessels, 
whose arrivals and departures were uncer- 
tain, made smooth cargo operations diffi- 
cult. Acting under instructions from the 
President, the Transportation Control 
Committee made special efforts to assist 
the representatives of the USSR in mov- 
ing supplies covered by the Soviet 
protocols. 126 

A general estimate of the control of 
port-bound traffic during World War II 
must give a high rating to the plan and 
the manner in which it was executed. The 
principal cause for criticism was the tardi- 
ness with which over-all control was 
established, for the system was not agreed 
upon until three months after the United 
States entered the war and additional 
months were required to make it effective. 
Although the number of carloads of ex- 
port freight unloaded at all ports in- 
creased from less than 700,000 in 1939 to 

more than 1,912,000 in 1944 {(Table 19), 
no serious congestion developed after the 
control plan was in full operation. Each 
foreseeable threat of congestion was taken 
into account in the monthly block re- 
leases, and unforeseen developments were 
dealt with by granting, withholding, or 
canceling unit permits or by diverting 
shipments to other ports or to the holding 
and reconsignment points. These results 
were accomplished through the constant 
vigilance of all agencies concerned and 
through their agreement, worked out in 
the Transportation Control Committee, 
on measures necessary to forestall or over- 
come difficulties. Maj. Gen. Edmond H. 
Leavey, who succeeded to the post of 
Chief of Transportation in November 
1945, made the following estimate of the 
traffic control system: 

1, It utilized the combined information 
and judgment of all agencies concerned with 
large freight movements and with the pro- 
vision of snipping and railroad equipment. 

'"ASF Memo S 43, 29 Jun 43; ASF Memo S 
55-20-43, 30Jun 43; WD CTB 15, 23 Mar 45, sub: 
Hwy Contl Stations; Memo, NYPE for CofT, 16 Jan 
45, sub: Hist Record, OCT HB NYPE Port Trans 

126 Memo, Harry L. Hopkins for TCC, 21 Sep 42, 
OCT HB Wylie TCC. 



Table 19 — Carloads of Export Freight Unloaded b-- the Railroads at U. S. Ports: 




North Atlantic 

South Atlantic 
and Gulf Poru 

Pacific Coast 

1939. . . . 


336, 786 

273, 117 


1940. . . . 

817, 877 

475, 671 

268, 179 


1941 .... 

880, 334 

556, 717 

242, 795 

80, 822 

1942. . . . 

954, 824 



224, 156 

1943 . . . . 

1,461, 723 

805, 652 


453, 069 

1944. . . . 

1, 912, 834 

1,076, 387 

232, 479 

603, 968 

1945 . . . . 

1, 887, 829 


337, 349 


* Data not available. 

Soitrc/: AAR, Annual Rtpori oftfu Cat Senitt Division, 1946, p. 16. 

2. It provided a means for the coordina- 
tion of logistical requirements and transpor- 
tation operations, and gave assurance that 
military priorities would be observed. 

3. It included both advance planning and 
a flexibility of performance which made 
possible whatever departures from the plan 
might become desirable in view of changed 
conditions. 127 

Transit Storage Operations 

Transit storage facilities had so impor- 
tant a role in the protection of the sea- 
board from congestion, and the utilization 
of the installations especially provided for 
that purpose was so unique, that the sub- 
ject merits some elaboration. The Army's 
ten holding and reconsignment points 
served as reservoirs where equipment and 
supplies that could not be promptly 
moved overseas were held until they were 
called to the ports. 128 In addition to pre- 
venting materiel from reaching the ports 
too soon, they served as facilities where re- 
lated items obtained from different sources 
could be assembled before being sent 
overseas, and provided stocks near the 
ports from which commodities urgently 

needed in the theaters could be quickly 
delivered to shipside. Nothing of this kind 
had existed in World War I, although 
three general depots built during 1918 in 
New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, were 
designated to provide "storage space for 
supplies en route to the seaboard," in 
addition to performing the usual depot 
functions. 129 

The Lend-Lease Act of March 1941 
provided the impetus that brought the 
holding and reconsignment points into 
being. The President's policy of giving 
maximum material aid to the Allies and 
the implementation of this policy by Con- 
gress made it clear that a tremendous 
volume of supplies would flow through the 

127 Ltr. CofT to Brig Gen Stanley L. Scott, Sv, Sup, 
and Proc Div WDGS, 17 Feb 47, OCT HB Topic 
Traf Contl WW II (3). The release system was can- 
celed by ODT GO 16-C, 12 Oct 45, effective 15 
Oct 45. 

128 In the beginning these installations were desig- 
nated general depots and they were informally 
referred to by a number of other names, but the term 
"holding and reconsignment point" was officially 
adopted in the spring of 1 942. 

128 Annual Report of the Quartermaster General, 1918 
(Washington, 1918), p. 53. 



Atlantic ports when the country's produc- 
tion effort got into full swing. With a ship- 
ping shortage already at hand it seemed 
likely that supplies would become avail- 
able more rapidly than they could be 
moved overseas. Because military sup- 
plies would constitute a major part of the 
lend-lease program and large shipments 
would have to be made to the new At- 
lantic and Caribbean bases, the War De- 
partment would have a heavy interest in 
keeping the Atlantic ports liquid. Transit 
storage was visualized as an indispensable 
element of any system that might be set up 
for the control of port- bound traffic. 

During the spring of 1941 the subject 
was discussed repeatedly by officers of 
The Quartermaster General's Transpor- 
tation Division, the Transportation Branch 
of G-4, and Brig. Gen. George R. Spalding 
(Ret.), who was then attached to the Di- 
vision of Defense Aid Reports, which was 
later to become part of the Office of Lend- 
Lease Administration. Since both military 
and civilian storage space already was fill- 
ing up, there was general agreement that 
new installations would be needed. After 
considerable preliminary planning, in 
which a not very successful effort was 
made by The Quartermaster General to 
ascertain from the other supply services 
how much space would be required for 
transit storage, positive steps were taken 
in mid-July 1941. Four leading eastern 
railroads were requested to propose sites 
about an overnight run from the seaboard 
that would be available for the new transit 
storage facilities. Two sites were chosen 
from those proposed and plans for con- 
struction work were undertaken at once. 
The properties were located at Marietta, 
Pennsylvania, and at Voorheesville, New 
York. The initial intention was that each 
installation would provide about 1 ,000,000 

square feet of warehouse space and about 
2,000,000 square feet of hard-surface open 
storage space. 130 

While these plans for new transit stor- 
age installations were being developed 
with The Quartermaster General's Trans- 
portation Division taking the lead, the 
same idea was being pursued by the Stor- 
age Unit, G-4, and the Depot Division, 
OQMG. In an abortive effort to hasten 
the availability of such storage, an old silk 
mill at Shamokin, Pennsylvania, was en- 
gaged. When the Transportation Division 
learned of this action, it notified G-4 that 
from its standpoint the property was 
wholly unsuitable. The multistoried 
building had only 368,000 square feet of 
warehouse space and was without ade- 
quate elevators; it was served only by 
branch rail lines and was not well situated 
for the quick movement of supplies to the 
seaboard. The lease was signed, however, 
and the Shamokin installation soon was 
designated a general depot to serve as a 
stopgap until new facilities were ready. 131 
Some weeks later the Shamokin facility 
was redesignated a holding and reconsign- 

1: Draft of Memo, QMC for ACofS G-4, 25 Apr 
31, sub: Regulation of Overseas Shipments, par. 6, not 
used after getting comments of supply services; Memo, 
Wardlow for Dillon, 27 Jun 41, sub: Storage and 
Warehouse Facilities; both in OCT HB TZ Gen 
H&RP; memo of conference to discuss establishing 
"regulating stations ," 16Jul 41, G-4/32697-2; Memo, 
Lt Col Frederick H. Black for Brig Gen Eugene Rey- 
bold, ACofS G-4, undated, reporting on meeting held 
21 Jul 41, G-4/32697-2. 

111 DF, ACofS G-4 for TAG, et at., 28 Jun 41, sub: 
Lease of RFC Property, G-4/32697-2; Memo, Ward- 
low for Col Cordiner, 17 Jun 41 ; Memo, C of Trans 
Div for TQMG, 15 Jul 41; Memo for Record by 
Wardlow, 15 Jul 41; last three in OCT HB TZ Gen 
H&RP; 1st Ind, ACofS G-4 for TQMG, 23 Jul 4 1 ; 
Memo, ACofS G-4 for TAG, 8 Aug 41, sub: General 
Plan for Shamokin; last two in G-4/32697-2; Memo, 
TAG for Arms and Services, 20 Aug 41, sub: Defense 
Aid Storage, AG 68 1 (8-14-41). 



ment point, and the Marietta and Voor- 
heesville installations — then in process of 
construction — were made subordinate to 
it. When operations began at Marietta 
and Voorheesville the arrangement proved 
unworkable, and in February 1942 those 
installations were made independent. The 
Shamokin facility was discontinued as of 
1 June 1942. 132 

During the fall of 1941 the Transporta- 
tion Division developed a program for ad- 
ditional holding and reconsignment 
points, which it believed would be needed 
eventually. A few days before the Japa- 
nese attack on our Pacific outposts the di- 
vision recommended that such facilities be 
provided, as needed, near Richmond, Vir- 
ginia, to back up the ports from Hampton 
Roads to Charleston; in the vicinity of 
Montgomery or Birmingham, Alabama, 
to back up the ports between Charleston 
and New Orleans; in the vicinity of 
Shreveport, Louisiana, to support the 
Gulf ports west of New Orleans; in Cali- 
fornia to back up San Francisco and Los 
Angeles, and in Washington to serve the 
Puget Sound ports and Portland, Ore- 
gon. 133 This program was approved, and 
on 31 December the Chief of Engineers 
was instructed to proceed with the selec- 
tion of sites immediately. 134 

The program was subsequently ex- 
tended. During the spring of 1942 author- 
ization was given for an additional hold- 
ing and reconsignment point at Elmira, 
New York. This facility was considered 
desirable because of the heavy use that 
would be made of the North Atlantic 
ports and because Elmira was served by a 
number of good freight rail lines. In June 
1943 the last of the ten holding and re- 
consignment points was authorized, to be 
located at Auburn, Washington. 135 The 
need for this last facility grew out of the 

increased use that was being made of the 
North Pacific ports for lend-lease ship- 
ments and the relatively limited storage 
capacity at the seaboard. 

Although the original conception of a 
holding and reconsignment point was that 
of an installation with about one million 
square feet gross of warehouse space and 
two million square feet gross of open stor- 
age space, the plan was changed as cir- 
cumstances required. The facility at 
Shreveport was planned on a smaller scale 
because shipments routed through western 
Gulf ports were not expected to be heavy. 
The capacities of other points were in- 
creased as the need arose. Larger open 
storage space was found to be necessary in 
most cases because of the heavy shipments 
of equipment and other materiel that did 
not require covered storage. 

The facilities at Marietta and Voor- 
heesville, started in the late summer of 
1941, were far from complete when the 
United States entered the war, but 
Marietta already was being used to a lim- 
ited extent and Voorheesville began to 
receive freight for outdoor storage early in 
1942. 186 The availability of storage at 
these installations during the early months 
of the war was a considerable factor in 
checking the congestion that threatened 
the North Atlantic ports. 

" 2 Memo, ACofS G-4 for TAG, 24 Oct 41, sub: 
Command of Marietta and Voorheesville, G-4/ 
32697-2; Memo, TAG for CofEngrs, QMC, et al., 
6 Feb 42, AG 681 (1-14-42); Memo, ACofS G-4 for 
CG Shamokin H&RP, 3 Mar 42, G-4/32697-2. 

'» Memo, TQMG for ACofS G-4, 4 Dec 41, sub: 
Additional Trans and Stg Facilities, OCT HB TC 
Gen New Facilities. 

114 Memo, ACofS G-4 for CofS, 1 1 Dec 41, OCT 
HB TC New Facilities; Memo, TAG for CofEngrs, 
31 Dec41, AG 600-12 (12-11-41). 

1J5 Spp full list nf h olding and reconsignment points 
in hTable 20. p. 2B8-I 

198 OCT HB Monograph 8, p. 22. 




Choice of sites was made through col- 
laboration between The Quartermaster 
General's Transportation Division and the 
Corps of Engineers. The Transportation 
Division took particular care to insure 
that adequate rail capacity was available 
to afford a free flow of freight into and out 
of the points. It was considered desirable 
that the facilities should be far enough 
away from the ports to avoid the heavy 
metropolitan traffic but near enough to 
insure that supplies called to shipside on 
one afternoon could be delivered the next 

morning. The aim was to have them lo- 
cated on main rail lines but away from 
heavily trafficked industrial areas that 
might become congested. In the winter of 
1941-42, when sites for the western points 
were being selected, word came from the 
General Staff that they should not be lo- 
cated near the seaboard because of the 
danger of bombing by the Japanese. As a 
result, a holding and reconsignment point 
was located at Yermo, California — a site 
that proved unsatisfactory because of its 
isolation and climate and the consequent 



difficulty of obtaining sufficient labor to 
carry on operations. 137 

In planning these facilities the advice of 
a number of storage experts was obtained. 
Among them were Mr. Harry D. Crooks, 
a member of The Quartermaster Gen- 
eral's Transportation Advisory Group, and 
Mr. Leo J. Coughlin. Mr. Coughlin later 
was commissioned as a colonel, and served 
during the war as chief of the Transit Stor- 
age Division in the Office of the Chief of 
Transportation. The buildings decided on 
were of one story, 960 feet long and 180 
feet wide, with platforms for loading and 
unloading rail cars running the full length 
of each side and a platform for handling 
truck freight at one end. The open storage 
areas were provided with adequate tracks 
so that freight could be unloaded from 
cars with crawler or railroad cranes and 
placed in the space it was to occupy with- 
out additional handling. At several points 
a limited amount of shed space was pro- 
vided. Because of their isolated locations, 
some of the points had to provide housing 
in addition to administrative buildings and 
utilities. Excluding Yermo, the sites aver- 
aged about 600 acres; the Yermo site was 
over 2,000 acres because of the unusual 
character of the terrain. 138 Although in the 
preliminary conversations some attention 
was given to refrigerated space and to stor- 
age for ammunition and explosives, 
neither type of storage was included in the 
holding and reconsignment points. 

The larger part of the money for con- 
structing the holding and reconsignment 
points was provided from lend-lease funds. 
In July 1941 when the first steps were 
being taken toward the establishment of 
these facilities, War Department funds 
were not immediately available. In order 
to avoid delay in starting construction 
General Spalding suggested that lend- 

lease funds be used. This was logical 
since at that time it was believed that the 
holding and reconsignment points, as well 
as some other projected facilities, would 
be used chiefly for the handling of lend- 
lease supplies. 139 The suggestion was fol- 
lowed not only with respect to the installa- 
tions at Marietta and Voorheesville but 
also with respect to those that were under- 
taken later. Up to February 1944, lend- 
lease funds totaling approximately $43,- 
000,000 had been used in constructing the 
holding and reconsignment points. This 
amount constituted about two thirds of 
the total cost. 140 

The holding and reconsignment points 
had been conceived as facilities for the 
storage of War Department shipments 
destined for oversea areas, including ship- 
ments for the U.S. Army and shipments 
under lend-lease. During the early months 
of the war it was necessary to divert lend- 
lease supplies procured by the Treasury 
and Agriculture Departments into Mari- 
etta and Voorheesville in order to protect 
the ports from congestion. The question 
then arose whether this should be per- 
mitted as a regular procedure. The need 
was obvious, and in view of the large 
financial investment the Lend- Lease Ad- 
ministration had made in these installa- 
tions there was little doubt as to the 
answer. An additional argument was the 
fact that, under the plan for controlling 

137 OCT HB TC Gen New Facilities contains docu- 
ments that give a running account of the selection of 
sites and the construction of facilities. 

us OCT HB Monograph 8, p. 25. 

139 Memo, Col Black for Gen Reybold, undated, 
reporting on meeting held 2 1 Jul 41; Ltr, SW to Maj 
Gen James H. Burns, Div of Defense Aid Rpts, 30 
Jul 41; both in G-4/32697-2. 

140 1st Ind, CofEngrs for CofT, 17 Feb 44, OCT 
HB TC Gen New Facilities. These figures do not in- 
clude the cost of the Auburn Holding and Reconsign- 
ment Point, where construction was still in progress. 



port-bound shipments adopted in March 
1942, the Chief of Transportation was to 
have control of the release and routing of 
lend-lease supplies procured by Treasury 
and Agriculture. Accordingly, all lend- 
lease supplies were eligible for transit stor- 
age at the holding and reconsignment 
points throughout the war. 141 

Time and effort were required to have 
the holding and reconsignment points 
recognized as essentially transportation 
facilities and to bring their operation 
under control of the Army's transporta- 
tion officers. Initially, the points were 
placed under the control of the Assistant 
Chief of Staff, G-4, and were admin- 
istered by his General Depot Service."' 2 
The Quartermaster General's Transpor- 
tation Division did not like this arrange- 
ment but accepted it. The part that the 
installations at Marietta and Voorhees- 
ville played in relieving congestion at the 
North Atlantic ports during January and 
February 1942 served to strengthen the 
arguments of the transportation authori- 
ties. When a Chief of Transportation was 
created in March 1942, the operation of 
the "reconsignment stations for oversea 
shipments" was placed in his charge. 143 
Gradually it became established that not 
only the operation of the points but the 
control of the utilization of their space and 
the flow of supplies in and out of them 
were functions of the Chief of Transporta- 
tion. 144 

Additional time and effort were re- 
quired to establish the doctrine that the 
holding and reconsignment points should 
not be used for general storage purposes 
but only for the temporary storage of 
freight earmarked for oversea shipment. 14:5 
This doctrine was challenged in the 
spring of 1942, partly because it involved 
a new type of storage operation that many 

Army officers did not understand and 
partly because the general demand for 
storage space was exceedingly heavy. The 
Chief of Transportation considered the 
holding and reconsignment points es- 
sential to the proper functioning of his 
office and was unwilling to have their 
utility as elements of the transportation 
system compromised. He therefore op- 
posed allotment of space to the supply 
services, at least until it had become 
evident that all space was not needed for 
transit storage. The supply services ac- 
cordingly were informed that the points 
would be used only for shipments moving 
to the seaboard for transshipment over- 
seas, and that no shipments should be con- 
signed to these installations without the 
approval of the Chief of Transportation. 14 " 
After it became evident that space could 
be used for other types of storage without 
interfering with the basic function of the 
holding and reconsignment points, this 

141 Memo, Col Henry B. Holmes, Jr., for Somervell, 
4 Feb 42, sub: Control of Lend-Lease Shipments; 
Memo, Col Robinson E. Duff for Gross, 8 Feb 42; 
Memo, Wardlow for Dillon, 9 Mar 42; Memo, Dillon 
for Gross, 21 Mar 42, sub: Relation Between Storage 
and Transportation; all in OCT HB TZ Gen H&RP. 

142 Memo, TAG for Cs of Arms and Services, 20 
Aug 41, sub: Defense Aid Stg and Trans, AG 681 
(8-14-41); Memo, TAG for Cs of Supply Arms and 
Services, 6 Feb 42, sub: Shamokin Gen Depot and 
H&RP, AG 681 (1-14-42). 

143 Initial Directive for Org of SOS, 9 Mar 42, 
par. 10c. 

144 Memo, Dillon for Gross, 21 Mar 42, sub: Rela- 
tion Between Storage and Trans, OCT HB TZ Gen 
H&RP; AR 55-25, 12 Oct 42, par. 1/; AR 55- 1 55, 27 
Nov 42, Sec. VIII, par. 38<r. 

145 Memo, TAG for Cs of Arms and Services, 20 
Aug 4 1 , sub: Defense Aid Storage and Trans, AG 68 1 

146 Memo, CofT for Col Duff, 24 Apr 42, sub: Use 
of Transit Depots for Stg, OCT HB Wylie Staybacks; 
Memo, TAG for Cs of Supply Arms and Services, 1 1 
May 42, sub: Trans and Stg of Lend-Lease Supplies, 
par. 3, AG 486.1 (5-6-42); Memo, CofT for CofOrd, 
20 Jun 42, sub: Proper Functions of H&RP, OCT 
523.091 Ordnance. 



was arranged. The Chief of Transporta- 
tion was unwilling, however, to allow any 
space to get beyond his control or to be 
incorporated in the Army general depot 
system. 147 

In view of the heavy shipments of naval 
supplies to Pacific bases and the limited 
capacity of the Pacific coast ports, ar- 
rangements were made in the summer of 
1943 for the Navy to use space in the 
western holding and reconsignment 
points. Experience had demonstrated that 
Army and lend-lease supplies did not then 
require the entire capacity of those in- 
stallations. Also, the Army believed that 
this arrangement would help to correct a 
tendency on the part of the Navy to con- 
centrate its supplies at the ports and fill 
warehouse facilities so that space was not 
available for emergency needs. 148 In the 
spring of 1945, when plans were being 
made for the final thrust against Japan, 
the question arose whether the Navy 
should construct additional storage facili- 
ties or continue to use the Army's holding 
and reconsignment points. General Gross 
believed that the existing installations 
could meet the needs of both services pro- 
vided they were used only for transit stor- 
age, but he pointed out that up to that 
time a considerable part of the naval sup- 
plies that had been admitted to the holding 
and reconsignment points had remained 
there for long periods. This was a violation 
of the principle of transit storage, which 
the Navy recognized and undertook to 
correct. 149 

The largest withdrawal of space from 
transit storage operations was made for 
the Transportation Corps depot system, 
which was inaugurated in February 1944. 
Early in the war when procurement was 
lagging, Transportation Corps equipment 
and supplies were frequently assigned to 

troops as soon as they were delivered by 
the manufacturers, and those that passed 
through the holding and reconsignment 
points remained there a relatively short 
time. As deliveries under the procurement 
program improved and stocks were accu- 
mulated, a depot system became neces- 
sary. The holding and reconsignment 
points were the only storage facilities oper- 
ated by the Chief of Transportation, and 
since they had sufficient space it was nat- 
ural that the Transportation Corps depots 
should have been located there. Initially, 
depots were established at Marietta, 
Montgomery, Lathrop, and Voorhees- 
ville, and later subdepots were set up at 
Elmira, Yermo, and Auburn. In May 
1945 these depot activities were occupying 
2,785,000 square feet gross of closed space 
and 15,082,000 square feet gross of open 

space. |( 1 able 2(7^ 

Numerous other allocations of space 
were made by the Transit Storage Division 
acting for the Chief of Transportation. In 
such cases the footage required was rela- 
tively small and the allocations were made 
with the understanding that they could be 
withdrawn if the space was needed for 
transit storage. The agencies whose sup- 
plies were thus accommodated at the 
holding and reconsignment points in- 
cluded the British Ministry of Supply 
mission, the Maritime Commission, the 

147 Memo, Dep Dir of Plans and Opns ASF for Cs 
of Tech Svs, 1 Dec 43, sub: Distribution System Plan, 
OCT 401 Distribution Plan; Memo, GofT for Dep 
Dir Plans and Opns, 4 Dec 43, OCT HB Meyer Stay- 

148 Memo, Somervell for Adm Home, 1 Jun 44, 
ASF Hq Navy 1942-44; Interv with Col Leo J. 
Coughlin, 29 Dec 44, OCT HB TZ Gen H&RP. 

149 Min of Conf, Materiel Distribution Committee 
OCNO, 5 Apr 45, pp. 7-11, OCT HB Topic Navy; 
Min of First Session, Joint Army and Navy Supply 
and Shipping Conf, Washington, 1-6 May 45, pp. 
26-27, G-3 337 (1 May 45). 



Table 20 — Warehouse, Shed, and Open Storage Space at Holding and Reconsigh- 

ment Points: 31 May 1945 

(Thousands of Square Feet) 

Location and Type of Storage 




Grots in 

Usable * 

Gross in 

Usable * 

Gross in 

Usable • 









6, 121 




16, 021 









10, 716 




2, 228 






k 345 








3, 591 





1, 877 










2, 622 





2, 785 

1, 524 




















1, 329 










3, 289 

* Net usable space was that portion of the gross space that could be used for storing mat£riel; it excluded space devoted to aisles, re- 
ceiving and shipping, offices, and other nonstorage activities. 

*> The Transportation Corps subdepot at Elmira, under jurisdiction of the depot at Voorheeaville, had been authorized but was not yet 
in operation. 

Sourct: ASF Monthly Progress Report, 31 May 1945, Sec. 2-H, Storage Operations, pp. 45-46. 

Department of Commerce, the Treasury 
Department, and various elements of the 
Army that required storage space in par- 
ticular areas. 150 The troop equipment 
staging area, which was operated at the 
Elmira Holding and Reconsignment Point 
during the fall of 1944, assembled, proc- 
essed, and held the equipment and sup- 
plies of particular troop units until the 
materiel was called to the ports for "pre- 
shipment" to Europe. This undertaking 
involved operations beyond those usually 

performed for materiel stored in transit 
and was therefore in the nature of an 
"extracurricular" activity. 151 

The fact that space in the holding and 
reconsignment points was available for 
these other purposes was the result of the 
effectiveness of the control over the routing 
of freight to these facilities and the efforts 
of the Transit Storage Division to prevent 

1M Rpts, Transit Stg Div, FY 1944, p. 7 and FY 
1945, p. 12; TC Cir 50- 13, rev ised 1 1 Aug 45- 
151 See above] pp. 157-59. 



supplies from remaining for indefinite 
periods. Starting with the assumption that 
supplies normally should not remain more 
than thirty days and never more than sixty 
days, the division undertook to have prop- 
erty that had remained beyond sixty days 
removed by the procuring agencies. Later, 
the policy of notifying the procuring agen- 
cies whenever shipments had remained 
beyond forty -five days was adopted. Rec- 
ognizing the difficulties created by changes 
in oversea requirements and the scarcity 
of storage space, the division did not actu- 
ally demand the removal of the supplies, 
but it kept the agencies reminded of their 

The tendency of the procuring agencies, 
particularly the Treasury Department, to 
allow shipments for which they did not 
have other disposition to remain at the 
holding and reconsignment points indefi- 
nitely was a matter that required constant 
attention. It was difficult for these agen- 
cies, and also for the Storage Division of 
Army Service Forces headquarters, to fully 
accept the fact that the holding and recon- 
signment points were transit storage facili- 
ties and not depots. 152 Nevertheless, during 
the fiscal year 1945 the Transit Storage 
Division succeeded in reducing the amount 
of freight on hand in excess of sixty days 
from 1 1,000 to 3,500 carloads. 153 

The effort to minimize "dead storage" 
was in line with the Transportation Corps' 
policy of keeping the percentage of occu- 
pancy at the holding and reconsignment 
points low. This policy drew criticism from 
other branches of the Army that were con- 
fronted with growing inventories and 
crowded depots, but the Chief of Trans- 
portation insisted that ample free space 
should always be maintained to permit a 
fluid transit storage operation and to in- 
sure that emergency shipments could be 

accommodated if necessary. In enforcing 
this policy the carloads of freight actually 
in storage and the carloads booked for 
early delivery were totaled and the re- 
mainder of the capacity was considered 
free space. The average amount of free 
space was about 50 percent, taking into 
account the space allotted to Transporta- 
tion Corps depots as well as that used for 
strictl y transit storage operations. (Table 


During the four- year period 1942-45 
the ten holding and reconsignment points 
received shipments equivalent to about 
293,000 carloads, including materiel for 
storage in transit pending movement over- 
seas and Transportation Corps depot 
stocks. This added up to about 8,790,000 
short tons. 154 The great bulk of it arrived 
in carload lots, although some came in 
smaller shipments. The total freight han- 
dled in and out at the holding and recon- 
signment points wa s somewh at over 
1 7,000,000 short tons. /(Table 22 ) 

The shipments handled at the holding 
and reconsignment points were of three 
types. Type A consisted of shipments that 
had been released for movement to the 
ports but had had to be diverted en route 
or moved back from the ports because of 
lack of shipping or change in movement 
plans. Type B consisted of materiel in- 
tended for early movement overseas that 
had been shipped directly to the holding 
and reconsignment points to be held as 
stockpiles upon which the ports could 
draw to meet current ship-loading require- 

152 ASF MPR, Sep 43, Sec. 6, Analysis, pp. 97-103, 
Flow of Traf Through H&RP; Rpt, Transit Stg Div, 
26 Sep 45, sub: Accomplishments and Handicaps, 
p. 4, OCT HB Transit Stg Div. 

153 Rpt, Transit Stg Div, FY 1945, p. 7. 

154 The estimate is based on thirty tons to the car- 
load, which was the average for Army materiel in 
1944 and 1945. 



Table 21 — Percentage of Filled, Booked, and Free Space at Holding and Recon- 
signment Points on Designated Dates 






31 January 1943 . . . 

65, 344 








31 January 1945 . . . 





Source: Analysis of HScRP occupancy in monthly issues of ASF Monthly Progress Report, Sec. 3. These analyses show separately 
the several points, the several procuring agencies, and carloads in open and closed storage. Beginning in June 1944 TC depot stock and 
TC materiel in transit storage are separated. 

ments. Type C included supplies intended 
for eventual shipment overseas but not 
covered by current requisitions. Shipments 
of the latter type, which in the beginning 
were not expected to bulk large, became 
considerable as production increased and 
storage space at contractors' plants and 
technical service depots became over- 
crowded. A large part of such shipments 
consisted of Army supplies sent to the 
holding and reconsignment points for 
assembling into units before shipment 
overseas. 155 

A simple system of inventory and ac- 
counting was desirable in order to relieve 
the holding and reconsignment points of 
as much clerical work as possible. In the 
beginning technical service representatives 
at the points kept depot records of the 
property under their supervision. This 
plan proved time-consuming and the de- 
tailed records were not found necessary. 
In May 1943, therefore, formal account- 
ability for supplies en route to oversea 
destinations was terminated when the 
shipments left the depots of the procuring 
agencies, and accountability was not estab- 
lished for property shipped to the holding 
and reconsignment points directly from 
contractors' plants. The holding and re- 
consignment points, as well as the ports of 

embarkation and the port agencies, there- 
after maintained only carload identity, 
supported by informal "jacket files" in 
which copies of the bills of lading and any 
diversion notices were placed, with appro- 
priate cross-indexing. A formal account- 
ing system was necessary for Type C 
supplies since such shipments were usually 
broken up before being forwarded over- 
seas and identity could not otherwise have 
been maintained. 156 

At the outset the Chief of Transporta- 
tion's responsibilities in connection with 
the holding and reconsignment points, in- 
cluding supervision of storage operations 
and control of the utilization of space, 
were entrusted to his Transit Storage Divi- 
sion. In June 1942, in order to facilitate 
operational supervision, the division estab- 
lished district offices at Philadelphia and 

Procedure Governing the Handling of Trans 
and Accountability Papers on Shipts to H&RP, 10 
Aug 42, OCT 140.2 H&RP; TC Cir 105-9, revised 
1 1 Jun 45, sub: Standard Operating Procedure for 
Storage in Transit; Rpt, Transit Stg Div, FY 1945, 
pp. 4-5. 

156 Memo, Col Coughlin for Col Hodson, 25 May 
42, sub: Accountability at H&RP; Memo, C of Tran- 
sit Stg Div for Traf Contl Div, et al., 1 2 Sep 42, and 
atchd Procedures; all in OCT 140.2 H&RP; WD Cir 
127, 29 May 43, Sec. VI; WD Cir 275, 30 Oct 43, Sec. 
Ill; WD Cir 43 1 , 6 Nov 44, Sec. V. 


Table 22 — Short Tons of Freight Handled In and Out of the Holding and Recon- 

signment Points: 1942—1945 * 

Holding and Reconsignment Points 






All Points 

17, 123,457 

1, 631,446 

5, 332,841 

6, 106, 232 

4, 052, 938 


574, 761 

242, 549 

2, 387, 349 

22, 738 

671, 521 

1, 099, 506 


2, 491, 574 

156, 469 


717, 262 

553, 102 

2, 955, 166 

655, 291 

830, 903 

995, 569 


787, 098 

20, 412 

174, 733 


275, 983 

2, 104, 639 

163, 107 

602, 710 





407, 235 

537, 325 


689, 275 

17, 222 


293, 780 

207, 961 

2, 405,062 

494, 126 






365, 706 

292, 122 

341, 275 

* Transportation Corps depot stock included up to March 1944 but not thereafter, 

b Includes 52,950 tons handled during 1943 and 1944 at open storage yard at Ravtna, New York, which was under the jursidiction of 

Souru: ASF Monthly Progress Report, Sec, 2-H, Storage Operations, summarized for a statistical volume of this series, now in prep- 

San Francisco and obtained authorization 
for a third office in a southern city. 1 " 
When the nine transportation zones were 
established in the following December, 
supervision of operations was decentralized 
to the zone offices and the district transit 
storage offices were discontinued. 

Although the zone transportation offi- 
cers thereafter were held responsible for 
detailed supervision of operations, the 
Transit Storage Division continued to pro- 
vide over-all supervision and co-ordina- 
tion of procedures and to make such 
inspections as were considered necessary. 
The utilization of space was controlled 
entirely by the division, since such control 
required a knowledge of operations and 
space conditions at all of the points and 
close co-ordination between the Transit 
Storage Division, the Traffic Control Divi- 
sion, and the Transportation Control 
Committee in regard to the release of 
shipments to the points and the diversion 

of shipments already en route. In addition 
to the holding and reconsignment points, 
the Transit Storage Division supervised 
storage operations at the railroad open 
storage yards and at the ports of embar- 
kation. 158 

The general scarcity of labor and the 
isolated locations of the holding and re- 
consignment points created a manpower 
problem that required constant attention. 
The bulk of the operating personnel con- 
sisted of civilians directly employed. At 
certain points contractors were engaged to 
provide personnel for freight handling 
and some accessorial services. The engage- 
ment of contractors and the contract terms 
were closely controlled by the Transit 

157 Memo, CofT for G of Transit Stg Div, 1 Jul 42, 
sub: Allotment of Officers, OCT 320.21 H&RP. 

153 TQ p am phlet 1, Org Manual, gives the organi- 
zation and defines functions of the Transit Stg Div; 
TC Cir 135-1, 4jan 43, sub: Inspection of H&RP, 
and revision, 15. Jan 45. 



Storage Division. 159 German prisoners of 
war and Italian Service Units were used in 
some instances. At Yermo, which was in 
the most unfavorable position from the 
standpoint of labor procurement, civilians 
accounted for only one third of the staff on 
30 April 1945. On that date the personnel 
of the ten holding and reconsignment 
points (excluding Transportation Corps 
depot activities) was as follows: 1B0 

Type Number 

Total 6,305 

Officers 249 

Enlisted men 1 24 

Civilians (direct hire) 4,052 

Contractors' personnel 609 

Prisoners of war 68 1 

Italian Service Units 590 

From the beginning the Army's techni- 
cal services had representatives stationed 
at the holding and reconsignment points 
to supervise the storing of their property 
and such assembling, processing, and ac- 
counting as might be necessary. 161 Since 
these representatives were responsible to 
the technical service chiefs, the com- 
manders of the holding and reconsign- 
ment points did not have full control of 
their activities and were sometimes handi- 
capped by the arrangement. In October 
1943 the technical service supply sections 
were abolished, and the representatives of 
the technical services thereafter were 
responsible only to the commanders of the 
installations. 162 

The holding and reconsignment points 
were new installations and their operations 
were somewhat different from those of 
other storage facilities. The Transit Stor- 
age Division, therefore, gave constant 
attention to their operating methods and 
efficiency. The use of materials-handling 
equipment was studied in order to assure 
maximum service from this difficult-to- 

obtain machinery. The use of pallets and 
racks was exploited so far as practicable. 
Improvements in packaging and crating, 
which were developed by the technical 
services during the war, aided in improv- 
ing handling methods. The average num- 
ber of tons handled per man-day by ship- 
ping and receiving labor was increased 
from 1 1.03 in June 1943 to 16.02 in April 
1945. The average number of tons han- 
dled per man-day by storage labor in- 
creased from 4.72 to 8.36 between these 
dates. 163 The division also studied the 
utilization of space in order to reduce 
wherever possible the footage used for 
aisles, gear shops, and working areas. 

Railroad open storage yards were used 
to supplement the open storage space at 
the holding and reconsignment points. The 
railroads provided the yards and handled 
and guarded the material under contrac- 
tual arrangements with the Army. The 
yards were under the supervision of The 
Quartermaster General until October 
1943 and then passed to the control of the 
Chief of Transportation. 164 Under the 
Chief of Transportation, the zone transpor- 

159 Rpt, Transit Stg Div, FY 1945, p. 7. See OCT 
Cir 108, 21 Aug 43, for approved contract form. 

160 ASF MPR, May 45, Sec. 2-H, Stg Opns; OCT 
HB Monograph 16, p. 60. About 1,700 of these em- 
ployees were assigned to holding and reconsignment 
points by the service commands to operate the utilities 
and to provide fire and police protection and medical 

161 Memo, TAG for C of Supply Services, 1 1 May 
42, sub: Trans and Stg of Lend-Lease Supplies, AG 
486.1 (5-6-42). 

i 8 2 OCT Cir 126, 9 Oct 43, sub: Consolidation of 
Technical Service Sections at H&RP. 

163 Rpts, Transit Stg Div, FY 1944, p. 8, and FY 
1945, p. 13. Further improvements are shown by 
Transit Stg Div Rpt, 26 Sep 45, Ex. A. Detailed 
studies appear in monthly issues of ASF MPR, Sec. 
2-H, Stg Opns. 

164 ASF Cir 89, 25 Sep 43, Sec. II. 

OUTDOOR STORAGE SPACE at holding and reconsignment points ( top and middle ); 
railroad open storage yard (bottom). 



tation officers were responsible for periodi- 
cal operational inspections to insure that 
proper storage methods were being used 
and that adequate protection was being 
given public property, but the Transit 
Storage Division maintained general 
supervision and booked all space. 165 

The number of railroad open storage 
yards available and the number used by 
the Army varied from time to time. On 
24 June 1944, when the activity was near 
its peak, forty-nine yards were available 
with a total capacity of 46,837 carloads; 
all but two were east of the Mississippi. Of 
this number, thirty-seven yards with a 
total capacity of 38,995 carloads were 
actually being utilized by the Army; 
17,521 carloads were on hand, 4,433 car- 
loads were booked to arrive, and free space 
was available for 17,041 carloads. 1 * 6 From 
October 1942, the first date for which fig- 
ures are available, through September 
1945 a total of 78,662 carloads were 
received and 83,832 carloads were 
shipped. 167 Only materiel intended for 
shipment overseas and moving in carload 
lots was accepted. Having a large number 
of widely scattered yards available enabled 
the Transit Storage Division to assign ship- 
ments to yards near their sources, thus 
reducing crosshauling and backhauling 
when the shipments were moved to the 
ports. Length of tenure was not as strictly 
controlled as in the case of the holding and 
reconsignment points. 

The value of the holding and reconsign- 
ment points, supplemented by the railroad 
open storage yards, was generally recog- 
nized during the war. They helped in pro- 
tecting the ports from congestion, aided in 
avoiding the uneconomical use of rail 
equipment for storage purposes, relieved 
the storage facilities of contractors and 

procuring agencies, and provided stock- 
piles near the seaboard from which sup- 
plies could be quickly moved into the 
ports. The chief of the Traffic Control 
Division believed that they made a large 
contribution to the war effort. 168 The 
Transportation Control Committee-relied 
on them constantly in its effort to relieve 
strain on the ports and the railways. In the 
readjustment of supply movements neces- 
sitated by the end of hostilities in Europe, 
the holding and reconsignment points and 
the railroad open storage yards accommo- 
dated large quantities of freight no longer 
needed overseas. 

No question arose regarding the justifi- 
cation for the holding and reconsignment 
points that backed up the Atlantic and 
Pacific ports. Failure to use the Gulf ports 
as extensively as had been anticipated 
gave rise in 1943 to questions regarding 
the advisability of retaining the Shreveport 
installation as a transit storage facility, but 
the Chief of Transportation maintained 
that this should be done as insurance 
against future abnormal requirements. He 
had in mind that as the effort against 
Japan increased New Orleans would have 
to load considerable cargo for the Pacific 
theaters because of the limited capacity of 
the west coast ports. 169 

It is evident, on the other hand, that the 
holding and reconsignment points pro- 
vided more space than was actually needed 

184 TC Cir 135-2, 1 1 Jan 44; ASF Cir 56, 23 Sep 44, 
Sec. IV. 

188 Weekly Rpt of RR Open Stg Yards, 24Jun 44, 
OCT HB TZ Gen RR Opn Stg Yds. 

197 Summarization of Weekly Rpt of RR Open Stg 
Yards, prepared by Transport Economic Sec, OCT, 
reworked for statistical volume of this series. 

188 Remarks by Williamson, in Min of Port Comdrs 
Conf, Boston, 30 Aug 43, p. 123. 

169 Memo, C of Contl Div OCT for C of Transit Stg 
Div, 23 Jun 43, OCT HB Ex Staybacks. 



for transit storage. The effectiveness of the 
release system in holding export shipments 
at the source until shipping was in sight to 
transport them overseas meant that a rela- 
tively small percentage of such shipments 
had to be placed in storage en route to the 
ports. This was a development that the 
transportation officers of the Army and 
the Lend-Lease Administration could not 
foresee, and they took the safe course of 
providing too much rather than too little 
space at the holding and reconsignment 
points. Such a policy seems justified in the 
light of the harmful traffic congestion that 
developed at and back of the ports during 
World War I. As for the policy that main- 
tained so large a percentage of free space 
in these installations almost to the end of 
the war, the justification is less apparent. 
In retrospect it would seem that the Chief 
of Transportation's insistence on a margin 
of safety against possible emergencies may 
have been carried too far. 

Mobilization and Conservation 
of Freight Cars 

Utmost efficiency in the use of equip- 
ment was necessary if the railroads were 
to meet the demands of wartime freight 
traffic. The tonnage to be moved exceeded 
all previous records. The number of cars 
owned by the railroads had decreased 
considerably since World War I, although 
their average capacity was larger. The 
amount of new rail equipment obtainable 
during the war was severely limited by 
the heavy demands made upon the na- 
tion's production resources by programs 
for the construction of ships, aircraft, 
tanks, guns, and other war necessities. 170 
Under these conditions it was mandatory 
to get the greatest possible service out of 

the cars that were available, and this was 
a matter to which all the agencies con- 
cerned applied themselves assiduously. 
While this discussion is concerned chiefly 
with the measures employed by the Army, 
note must be taken of the efforts of the 
Office of Defense Transportation and the 
railroads themselves. 

The Office of Defense Transportation, 
charged with maintaining adequate rail 
service for war needs, imposed regulations 
on shippers and carriers to overcome the 
practice of light loading that had grown 
up during peacetime. Shippers were pro- 
hibited from offering and the railways 
were forbidden to accept carload ship- 
ments that did not equal in weight the 
marked capacity of the cars or did not 
utilize all practicable stowage space. This 
regulation, together with other measures, 
resulted in an increase in the average 
loading of carload freight from 38.15 tons 
per car in 1941 to more than 40 tons dur- 
ing the period 1942-45. Shippers of less- 
than -carload freight were required to load 
at least 10 tons in a car unless exceptions 
were granted. The loading of such freight 
increased from an average of 5.5 tons per 
car in 1941 to about 9.5 tons during the 
war period. The ODT made studies of 
circuitous routings that were wasteful of 
car time and found that the number of 
cases of unjustifiable circuity was too small 
to warrant the issuance of a general regu- 
lation. But shippers and carriers were 
called to account when such cases were 
discovered. 171 In addition to these regula- 
tions, the ODT fostered a broad campaign 
of education to keep shippers and carriers 

170 F or a fuller discussion, see Wardlow, op, cit., pp. 
1.3 1 9-2311 328-331 

171 ODT, Civilian War Transport, pp. 11-15, 96-97. 



alert to the need for conserving equipment 
by all possible means. 172 

The carriers conducted a constant cam- 
paign to promote the full loading and 
quick dispatch of cars. The railroad- 
sponsored shippers' advisory boards, which 
functioned in the thirteen car service dis- 
tricts, kept the need for efficient car utili- 
zation actively before the men upon whose 
interest and co-operation the success of 
the effort depended — the shippers and 
receivers of freight. About 600 car effi- 
ciency committees were organized to 
police the situation locally. The annual 
"perfect shipping month" represented a 
special effort to bring the many aspects of 
the problem forcefully to the attention of 
all concerned and to stimulate efforts to 
obtain better results. The carriers through 
the Association of American Railroads 
published loading rules covering the load- 
ing of specific commodities or the use of 
specific types of cars. These rules, which 
were based on experience and special tests, 
provided the best known methods of ob- 
taining uniform, safe, and economical 
loading. The Army directed its transpor- 
tation officers to observe the loading rules 
and collaborated with the AAR in formu- 
lating or improving those that pertained 
to military equipment. 173 

The plenary power that the Association 
of American Railroads had over the freight 
equipment of its members was a great aid 
in enforcing efficient employment. The 
Car Service Division could assign cars to 
particular traffic or to areas where they 
were needed regardless of ownership. In 
peacetime this authority was used to meet 
such abnormal requirements as that cre- 
ated by the annual grain movement. In 
wartime it virtually placed the freight cars 
of the nation in a single large pool that 

could be drawn on for military shipments 
as required. 

The Military Transportation Section of 
the Car Service Division worked with the 
Traffic Control Division in the Office of 
the Chief of Transportation to insure that 
equipment for Army freight was available 
when and where it was needed. For espe- 
cially large or urgent movements the Mili- 
tary Transportation Section began plan- 
ning the supply of cars when the routing 
was issued. In other cases the transporta- 
tion officer at the point of origin notified 
the initial carrier of his requirements and 
that railroad provided the cars from its 
own supply or obtained them from a con- 
necting line. If enough cars were not 
obtained in this manner, the aid of the 
district representative of the Car Service 
Division was sought, or as a last resort the 
Military Transportation Section was re- 
quested to overcome the deficit by order- 
ing the required number of cars to the 
loading point. 174 At the request of the 
Military Transportation Section each rail- 
road designated a single operating official 
to whom requests for cars could be directed 
and gave him authority to comply with 
such requests immediately. In fact, all 
matters pertaining to military traffic were 
handled through that official. 175 

Shortages of some types of cars were 
encountered at certain seasons and in cer- 
tain localities before the United States 

172 Joseph B. Eastman's address, "A Program for 
War Transportation Efficiency," at a meeting of the 
Pacific Coast Shippers Advisory Board, 9 December 
1943, gives "do's" and "don't's" for shippers, re- 
ceivers, and carriers of freight. 

173 AR 55-155, 27 Nov 42, par. 6; ASF Cir 193, 30 
May 45, Sec. Ill, lists A AR publica tions. 

174 Wardlow, op. cit., |pp. 3 1 2- 13j OCT HB Mono- 
graph 24, p. 73. 

175 Interv with J. J. Kelly, MTS, 16 Nov 51, OCT 
HB Topic RRs MTS. 



became a belligerent, and thereafter they 
steadily increased. 1 76 Reports of shortages 
and surpluses, which were received by the 
Association of American Railroads weekly 
from the member lines, together with in- 
formation obtained from its district repre- 
sentatives, aided the Car Service Division 
in utilizing the surpluses reported in cer- 
tain districts or on certain lines to offset 
shortages of cars of the same types reported 
elsewhere. In its advance planning to 
avoid shortages, the division was aided by 
quarterly forecasts of freight car require- 
ments compiled in collaboration with the 
shippers' advisory boards. 177 

The shortages, although an increasing 
cause for concern, did not become critical 
enough to affect military traffic until the 
winter of 1945. At that time the unusually 
severe weather in the northeastern states 
and the embargoes placed on shipments 
into that area immobilized so many cars 
that a widespread stringency was severely 
felt for several months. During this period 
the total of the reported shortages of box- 
cars far exceeded the reported surpluses. 
Although military supplies were exempt 
from the embargoes, the loading of some 
of the Army's less urgent shipments was 
delayed during this period. 178 

The Army as the nation's largest user of 
rail transportation had a special interest 
in and responsibility for the strict enforce- 
ment of economy in the utilization of cars. 
The arrangements for the routing of ship- 
ments and the control of traffic flow, which 
have been discussed, were major contribu- 
tions to this cause. There remained the 
necessity of overcoming a tendency toward 
careless and wasteful use of cars at Army 
installations. The effort in that direction 
began during the rearmament period 
when military traffic was increasing and 

numerous new installations were being 
established. Early in the war the Chief of 
Transportation published the following 
basic principles of car conservation, which 
he urged all shippers and receivers of 
Army freight to observe : 

Load all cars to maximum carrying capac- 
ity or full visible capacity. 

Do not detain cars beyond the minimum 
time actually required for loading and un- 
loading. This should never exceed twenty- 
four hours except in the most unusual 

Remove dunnage and debris from cars at 
time of unloading to permit immediate reuse. 

Do not order cars in excess of actual 
requirements, nor hold empties for prospec- 
tive loading. 

Place orders for cars as far in advance as 
possible, specifying type and size of car, time 
car is required, commodity to be loaded, and 

Use all possible precautions against dam- 
age or contamination of cars. 179 

The prompt dispatch of cars at Army 
installations was an aspect of car conser- 
vation on which the Chief of Transporta- 
tion placed strong emphasis. 180 Although 
constant attention had to be given to the 

176 Report, Summary of Car Surplus and Car 
Shortage, issued weekly by the AAR, separated types 
of cars, districts, and railroads. See study based on 
these reports in ASF MPR May 43, Sec. 3, p. 76; 
C. B. Peck, "Freight-Car Needs Exceed Supply," 
Railway Age, January 1 , 1944, pp. 39 -40. 

177 Wardlow, op. cit. . 1 pp. 3 13^-14.1 

118 Wardlow, op. fz7. Jp. 333l OPT, Civilian War 
Transport, p. 31 1. Studies of surpluses and shortages 
appeared frequently in. ASF MPR, Sec. 3; see partic- 
ularly issue of July 1945, p. 15, concerning boxcar 

179 OCT Cir Ltr 9, 15 Jun 42, sub: Demurrage and 
Conservation of Trans Equip. 

36tl Memo, CofT for CGs of SvCs and COs of 
Installations, 21 Oct 42, sub: Daily Car Situation Rpt, 
OCT HB Traf Contl Div Freight; WD Memo W 
55-1-43, 12 Jan 43; WD CTB 36, 14 Dec 44, sub: 
Utilization of RR Cars; WD CTB 12, 10 Feb 45, Car 
Detention and Demurrage. 



tendency of local transportation officers to 
call in cars before loading could actually 
be started in order to be sure that the 
equipment would be on hand when 
needed, the greater problem was to insure 
that cars were unloaded and released 
promptly by consignees. Scarcity of stor- 
age space, shortage of labor, and the gen- 
eral press of business created a strong 
temptation to delay unloading. In order 
to bring this condition under control, the 
larger Army installations were required 
to make daily reports on their car situation 
by wire and more detailed monthly reports 
by mail. This information, together with 
reports received through the Association 
of American Railroads, enabled the Chief 
of Transportation to take whatever action 
might appear necessary to prevent cars 
from being used for storage or to relieve 
congestion at an installation. 181 During 
the winter of 1944-45, when car shortages 
were being reported throughout the na- 
tion, car detention reports were required 
of all Army installations. 

In order that Army installations receiv- 
ing freight might prepare for the unload- 
ing and release of cars promptly on arrival, 
consignors were required in the beginning 
to notify the consignees by wire whenever 
shipments of one carload or more were 
started. After experience had demon- 
strated that these notices were not neces- 
sary on all shipments, the regulation was 
modified and notices of carload shipments 
were required only when the consignee 
was a port of embarkation or an installa- 
tion of the Air Forces, when the shipment 
consisted of ammunition or gasoline, or 
when the consignee had requested such 
notice; in other cases wire notices were 
sent when shipments of ten carloads or 
more were made. 182 When shipments of 
twenty-five carloads or more were made 

to depots, the consignors were required to 
obtain clearance from the consignees be- 
fore starting the shipments. This arrange- 
ment enabled the consignees to schedule 
the arrival of the freight in accordance 
with their ability to unload and store it, or 
to request that the shipments be post- 
poned. As has been noted, all shipments 
to holding and reconsignment points were 
cleared by the Transit Storage Division in 
the Office of the Chief of Transportation, 
which controlled the use of space at those 
installations. 183 

Demurrage charges, which became 
effective when cars were held beyond the 
specified period (usually forty-eight 
hours), provided an additional means of 
enforcing car economy. 184 Commanders of 
Army installations that held cars beyond 
the demurrage-free period were required 
to justify the resulting charges to the Chief 
of Transportation . 1 8 5 Average - demur rage 
agreements between the Army and the 
carriers encouraged installations to earn 
credits by unloading and releasing cars 
quickly in order that these credits might 
be set against debits incurred on cars that 

181 For examples, see correspondence between the 
Association of American Railroads, the Chief of 
Transportation, and the Chief of Ordnance regarding 
the car situation at several Ordnance installations, 
OCT 504 and OCT 504 Toledo Tank Depot. 

182 Memo, TAG for CGs of Corps Areas, et al., 
4 Mar 41, sub: Notice by Wire to Consignee, AG 
523.01 (2-28-41); AR 55-105, par. 7, 29 Dec 42, and 
Changes 3. 4, 8, 11; WD CTB 21, 22 Jun 44; WD 
CTB 33, 2 Jul 45; OCT HB Monograph 24, pp. 

183 WD Cir 419, 26 Dec 42, Sec. IV; WD Cir 63, 
1 Mar 43, Sec. V; WD Cir 93, 24 Mar 45, Sec. VI; 
Memo, Williamson for Wardlow, 19 Apr 45, sub: Rpt 
of Shipts, OCT HB Traf Contl Div Freight. 

184 The ODT increased demurrage charges from 
time to time to speed the release of types of cars in 
especially heavy demand; see ODT, Civilian War 
Transport, p. 314. 

iS5 VVD Memo 55-23-43, 5 Jun 43, sub: Detention 
of RR Cars, AG 531.5 (6-4-43). 



could not be handled so promptly. tafi The 
general traffic weight agreement entered 
into with